Women's experiences of group antenatal care in Australia-the CenteringPregnancy Pilot Study

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Midwifery, 2011, 27 (2), pp. 138 - 145
Issue Date:
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Objective: to describe the experiences of women who were participants in the Australian CenteringPregnancy Pilot Study. CenteringPregnancy is an innovative model of care where antenatal care is provided in a group environment. The aim of the pilot study was to determine whether it would be feasible to implement this model of care in Australia. Design: a descriptive study was conducted. Data included clinical information from hospital records, and antenatal and postnatal questionnaires. Setting: two metropolitan hospitals in Sydney, Australia. Participants: 35 women were recruited to the study and 33 ultimately received all their antenatal care (eight sessions) through five[CH1] CenteringPregnancy groups. Findings: difficulties with recruitment within a short study timeline resulted in only 35 (20%) of 171 women who were offered group antenatal care choosing to participate. Most women chose this form of antenatal care in order to build friendships and support networks. Attendance rates were high and women appreciated the opportunity and time to build supportive relationships through sharing knowledge, ideas and experiences with other women and with midwives facilitating the groups. The opportunity for partners to attend was identified as important. Clinical outcomes for women were in keeping with those for women receiving standard care; however, the numbers were small. Conclusion: the high satisfaction of the women suggests that CenteringPregnancy is an appropriate model of care for many women in Australian settings, particularly if recruitment strategies are addressed and women's partners can participate. Implications for practice: CenteringPregnancy group antenatal care assists women with the development of social support networks and is an acceptable way in which to provide antenatal care in an Australian setting. Recruitment strategies should include ensuring that practitioners are confident in explaining the advantages of group antenatal care to women in early pregnancy. Further research needs to be conducted to implement this model of care more widely. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd.
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