Childbirth Education and Obstetric Interventions Among Low-Risk Canadian Women: Is There a Connection?

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Abstract:

The objective of this study was to examine the associations between attendance at childbirth education classes and maternal characteristics (age, income, educational level, single parent status), maternal psychological states (fear of birth, anxiety), rates of obstetric interventions, and breastfeeding initiation. Between women’s 35th and 39th weeks of gestation, we collected survey data about their childbirth fear, anxiety, attendance at childbirth education classes, choice of health-care provider, and expectations for interventions; we then linked women’s responses (n = 624) to their intrapartum records obtained through Perinatal Services British Columbia. Older, more educated, and nulliparous women were more likely to attend childbirth education classes than younger, less educated, and multiparous women. Attending prenatal education classes was associated with higher rates of vaginal births among women in the study sample. Rates of labor induction and augmentation and use of epidural anesthesia were not significantly associated with attendance at childbirth education classes. Future studies might explore the effect of specialized education programs on rates of interventions during labor and mode of birth.

Keywords: childbirth education; low-risk pregnant women; obstetric interventions; prenatal classes

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1891/1058-1243.21.4.229

Affiliations: University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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