Document Type : Original Article



BACKGROUND: Prenatal education provides opportunities for health promotion of healthy behaviors
and risk reduction. Quality and coherence with prenatal health promotion best practices depend on
an individual class instructor. The objective of our study was to document the experiences, practices,
and perceptions of our diverse Ottawa, Canada community of prenatal educators.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this quantitative, mixed methods e‑survey conducted in Ottawa,
Canada, prenatal educators were asked to describe their prenatal class settings, delivery formats,
content, perceptions of pregnant women, and recommendations. Data were analyzed by descriptive
statistics and thematic content analysis.
RESULTS: Respondents included public health nurses and a diverse group of “allied childbirth
educators” (ACE). Topics related to pregnancy, labor, and postpartum issues were well addressed;
however, established and emerging risks to pregnancy were omitted. Nurses were more likely to
discuss lifestyle risks to pregnancy and general prenatal health promotion, whereas ACE respondents
emphasized informed consent and individualized counseling. Women marginalized by social exclusion
including Indigenous women, immigrants, and women with disabilities were perceived as missing
from prenatal educational settings.
CONCLUSIONS: Heterogeneity of prenatal education provides opportunities for collaboration;
however, established and emerging risk factors to pregnancy are neglected topics. Addressing the
needs of diverse communities of pregnant women requires timely, evidence‑based, inclusive, and
culturally safe delivery of prenatal health promotion.


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