A survey of contemporary antenatal parental education in Sweden: What is offered to expectant parents and midwives’ experiences

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: To explore how antenatal parental education is provided in southern Sweden and midwives’ experiences of it. Methods: A cross-sectional survey with data collection from 66 antenatal clinics and 189 midwives during 2016. Descriptive and comparative statistics, chi-square and t-tests, were used to present the findings. Results: Antenatal parental education was most commonly offered in small parental groups and the number of hours provided varied between two and ten (mean 5.8) hours. A common and structured program for the sessions was used at 37.3% of the clinics. Normal birth, pain relief, partner role during birth, breastfeeding advantages and breastfeeding initiation were the topics most extensively covered. Topic coverage was in 12 topics, mostly related to the time after birth, lower than midwives’ rated importance of the topic: p-values between 0.05 and <0.01. Only 14.2% of the midwives often provided guidance to websites. Although midwives enjoyed working with antenatal parental education, they expressed lack of organizational support and lack of personal skills in group leadership and teaching. Years of experience did not significantly affect their self-rated skills in group leadership or teaching. Conclusion: These results contribute to knowledge about contemporary antenatal parental education in Sweden. Our results showed that antenatal parental education is not always in accordance with parents’ expectations, especially concerning early parenthood and guidance on the internet. To provide antenatal parental education tailored to the needs of expectant parents it is vital to develop evidence-based guidelines and to address midwives’ needs for improved skills in group leadership and teaching.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Nursing


  • Childbirth, Midwives, Parenting, Prenatal education
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-19
Number of pages7
JournalSexual and Reproductive Healthcare
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch

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