Women's experiences of, and attitudes to, maternity education across the perinatal period in Victoria, Australia: A mixed-methods approach Academic Article uri icon


  • While the provision of maternity education across the perinatal period can increase the confidence and self-efficacy in childbearing women, there is still thought to be a lack of effective educational resources for parenthood. This study, conducted in Victoria, Australia, investigated women's experiences of, and attitudes to education communicated in maternity service provision.189 women were recruited from a variety of settings to participate in a mixed-methods survey about their experiences of perinatal health service education.Of the sample of childbearing women, 153 (81%) reported attending antenatal classes. Women perceived their antenatal education as beneficial, though many women still felt unprepared beyond labour and birth. With respect to the hospital postnatal stay, findings suggested a variation among the content imparted to women across different Victorian maternity services, (e.g. rural women tended to be more dissatisfied with information received in relation to maternal emotional and physical health). Overall, women wished they had been more informed about breastfeeding and settling techniques, while a lack of information relating to social support initiatives for the postnatal period was also indicated. Women reported that they were missing educational and practical reinforcement of mothercraft skills.There is a need for a reorientation of perinatal health service education. A health promotion approach is suggested as it extends beyond the physical recovery from birth to encompass psychosocial factors; including perinatal morbidities that can disrupt the quality and experience of the transition to parenthood.

publication date

  • 2017