Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Shared decision aids in pregnancy care: A scoping review

Kennedy, Kate; Adelson, Pamela; Fleet, Julie; Steen, Mary; McKellar, Lois; Eckert, Marion; Peters, Micah D J


Kate Kennedy

Pamela Adelson

Julie Fleet

Mary Steen

Marion Eckert

Micah D J Peters


Shared decision making in pregnancy, labour, and birth is vital to woman-centred care and despite strong evidence for the effectiveness of shared decision making in pregnancy care, practical uptake has been slow.

Design and Aim
This scoping review aimed to identify and describe effective and appropriate shared decision aids designed to be provided to women in the antenatal period to assist them in making informed decisions for both pregnancy and birth. Two questions guided the enquiry: (i) what shared decision aids for pregnancy and perinatal care are of appropriate quality and feasibility for application in Australia? (ii) which of these decision aids have been shown to be effective and appropriate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, culturally diverse women, or those with low literacy?

The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) extension for scoping reviews (PRISMA-ScR) was used to conduct the review. Five key databases and selected grey literature sources were examined. English language evidence from Australia, Europe, Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand, and United States of America produced from 2009 was eligible for inclusion, checked against apriori inclusion criteria, and assessed for quality and usability using the International Patient Decision Aid Standards.

From a total of 5,209 search results, 35 sources of evidence reporting on 27 decision aids were included following title/abstract and full-text review. Most of the decision aids concerned decisions around birth (52%, n = 14) or antenatal screening 37% (n = 10). The quality of the decision aids was moderate to high, with most communicating risks, benefits, and choice pathways via a mix of Likert-style scales, quizzes, and pictures or graphs. Use of decision aids resulted in significant reductions in decisional conflict and increased knowledge. The format of decision aids appeared to have no effect on these outcomes, indicating that paper-based are as effective as video- or audio-based decision aids. Eleven decision aids were suitable for low literacy or low health literacy women, and six were either developed for culturally diverse groups or have been translated into other languages. No decision aids found were specific to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Conclusions and implications for practice
The 27 decision aids are readily adoptable into westernised healthcare settings and can be used by midwives or multidisciplinary teams in conjunction with women. Decision aids are designed to support women, and families to arrive at informed choices and supplement the decision-making process rather than to replace consumer-healthcare professional interaction. If given before an appointment, high quality decision aids can increase a woman's familiarity with medical terminology, options for care, and an insight into personal values, thereby decreasing decisional conflict and increasing knowledge.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 23, 2019
Online Publication Date Nov 23, 2019
Publication Date 2020-02
Deposit Date Sep 14, 2022
Journal Midwifery
Print ISSN 0266-6138
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 81
Article Number 102589
Public URL