Background: this paper reports original research that embraces childbearing women’s views about the
importance of education in preparation for childbirth. A survey was carried out using the Birth Satisfaction Scale developed by Hollins Martin and Fleming (2011). All of the items in the questionnaire include a space where the women can add their own comments to allow them to document what is important to them. This paper reports the analysis of this qualitative data.
Methods: the qualitative data collected in the survey was analysed using Braun and Clarke’s (2006) method for undertaking a thematic analysis.
Participants: participants were a convenience sample of postnatal women from a maternity unit in the West of Scotland (UK) (n ¼ 228) who had an uncomplicated pregnancy at term (37e42 weeks). Those with a medical diagnosis, poor obstetric history, prematurity (42 weeks), younger than (50) of age, had a history of stillbirth, perinatal or neonatal death were excluded from participating in the study.
Results: three themes emerged from the data: ‘better to be prepared’, ‘prepared through previous experience’ and ‘in labour nothing goes to plan’.
Conclusion: the participants in this study were variable in their reports about the importance of education in preparation for childbirth, with some clearly presenting a perception of no need. For the midwife, importance lies in providing women with educational opportunities and choice and control in relation to uptake.
Recommendations: women may perceive more value in education when they evaluate it as critical to their outcomes. For example, providing information about: (a) how to identify risk factors before and after birth, (b) strategies that can work towards improving maternal and fetal health, (c) how to improve fetal growth and wellbeing, (d) how to improve nutritional and dietary status, (e) optimising pregnancy outcomes. In relation to delivery of education, midwives require to make purpose and links clear.
Hollins Martin, C. J., & Robb, Y. (2013). Women's views about the importance of education in preparation for childbirth. Nurse Education in Practice, 13, 512-518. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nepr.2013.02.013