Developing a New approach for Effective, Systematic, Timely and INteGrated (NESTING) pregnancy, birth and early parenting education program starts with consumer engagement

Ms Sheridan Guyatt1,2, Dr Shelley  Wilkinson1,3, Dr Brianna Fjeldsoe2, Associate Professor Michael  Beckmann1,3

1Mater Health, South Brisbane, Australia, 2University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia, 3Mater Research, South Brisbane, Australia

Perinatal education (PNE) is an expected part of perinatal care for both expectant parents and health care providers (HCP). Currently, the content of education provided to expectant and new parents is set by HCP, has not been shown to influence pregnancy and childbirth outcomes and is misaligned with the expectations of expectant and new parents.1

Current literature indicates that expectant and new parents want consistent, timely education from a multidisciplinary team delivered throughout the perinatal period.  Expectant and new parents want PNE promoting health and wellness including physical and mental health, emotional, relationship, breastfeeding and parenting skills. Parents value practical skill development, learning from their peers, effective use of digital media and the opportunity to individualise their PNE program. An evidence-practice gap exists.

The educational needs of expectant and new parents and health care providers at the Mater Mothers Hospital were investigated between February and June 2019 with three complementary methodologies.

  1. Survey of women on their educational preferences, knowledge and skills at different points of their perinatal journey.
  2. Interviews with women and their partners to determine the elements required for effective engagement with PNE.
  3. Focus groups of HCP to identify the barriers and enablers to delivering this education.

This research investigates how the evidence-practice gap can be addressed through including consumers to gain a deeper understanding of their content, format and context needs and the gaps identified by HCP in their own skillset to meet these needs. This is formative work in developing the interdisciplinary NESTING PNE program aimed at influencing perinatal outcomes.

Developing an effective PNE requires engagement with expectant and new parents and health care providers to determine their needs. This needs assessment will inform the interdisciplinary co-creation of an evidence based, outcome focussed perinatal education program aimed at influencing perinatal outcomes.

  1. Smith R, Homer C. Literature review on antenatal education – Content and delivery. Sydney: Centre for Midwifery, Child and Family Health, Faculty of Health, University of Technology, Sydney; 2017.


Sheridan is a Physiotherapist with over 25 years’ experience working with pregnant and postnatal women in both public and private settings here in Queensland and also in Tasmania. She is currently the Team Leader for the Mothers, Women’s and Pelvic Health Physiotherapy Team at the Mater Mothers Hospital, South Brisbane where over 10 000 babies are born each year. Sheridan is completing a PhD through the Faculty of Medicine, University of Queensland. She is passionate about interdisciplinary practise, effective patient communication and how together we can achieve great outcomes for expectant and new parents.

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