Does antenatal education affect labour and birth? A structured review of the literature

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Journal Article
Women and Birth, 2013, 26 (1), pp. e5 - ?
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Objective: To undertake a structured review of the literature to determine the effect of antenatal education on labour and birth, particularly normal birth. Method: Ovid Medline, CINAHL, Cochrane and Web of Knowledge databases were searched to identify research articles published in English from 2000 to 2012, using specified search terms in a variety of combinations. All articles included in this structured review were assessed using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA). Findings: The labour and birthing effects on women attending antenatal education may include less false labour admissions, more partner involvement, less anxiety but more labour interventions. Conclusion: This literature review has identified that antenatal education may have some positive effects on women's labour and birth including less false labour admissions, less anxiety and more partner involvement. There may also be some negative effects. Several studies found increased labour and birth interventions such as induction of labour and epidural use. There is contradictory evidence on the effect of antenatal education on mode of birth. More research is required to explore the impact of antenatal education on women's birthing outcomes. © 2012 Australian College of Midwives.
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