What mapping perinatal education tells us about the needs of expectant and new parents and the multidisciplinary team that provides this education?

Ms Sheridan Guyatt1,3, Dr Shelley Wilkinson1,2, Associate Professor Michael  Beckmann1,2, Dr  Brianna Fjeldsoe3

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

Background: Perinatal education (PNE) is an expected part of antenatal care. Health care providers (HCP) set PNE content which currently does not influence pregnancy outcomes or align with attendees’ expectations. Mapping PNE allows understanding of what is currently provided for women and their partners, how they use these services, the strengths, gaps, weaknesses and opportunities for change.

Aim: To understand the needs of expectant and new parents by systematically mapping PNE at the Mater Mothers Hospitals (MMH), Brisbane.

Method: Survey of MMH HCP delivering PNE (Aug-Oct 2018) on the content, format and reach (attendance rates).

Analysis: Qualitative analysis including comparing published guidelines with MMH PNE.

Key Findings: There were14 unique PNE offerings delivered by eight different health professionals from a mix of allied health and nursing disciplines with no pharmacy or medical staff involvement. Interdisciplinary co-facilitation, ‘peer teaching’, engaging support people and ‘learning through doing’ were underutilised and education outcomes are not consistently measured.

Attendance was poor with the most popular being the inpatient breastfeeding class (37.4%). Only 19.1% and 17.5% attended the two most popular outpatient session and the remaining 11 PNE sessions attended by less than 5.5% of women. PNE participation rates were concentrated around the last trimester of pregnancy and the inpatient postnatal period compared to women’s known information seeking behaviours in early pregnancy and post discharge. Collectively there is good coverage of the recommended content of PNE but when considered alongside attendance rates there is little attention given to psychological preparation for parenthood.

Discussion: The MMH provides a diverse range of PNE across the perinatal period. Participation and continuity between different PNE is poor. This data provides insight into the need of expectant and new parents and allows for assessment of gaps in current PNE to inform the interdisciplinary co-creation of an evidence based, outcome focussed perinatal education program.


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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