How should online antenatal and parenting education be structured according to parents? Qualitative findings from a mixed-methods retrospective study

Posted on 2023-01-25 - 03:44

Over the past 50 years, the content and structure of antenatal education classes have varied to reflect social norms of the time, the setting and context in which they have been held and who has facilitated them. In recent times, antenatal and parenting education classes have become a smorgasbord of information, offering a range of diverse content. Where and how parents-to-be may access formal antenatal and parenting education classes are also varied. Even before the lockdown challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, many antenatal and parenting education classes had become available and accessible online. While the flexibility and accessibility of this option are apparent, scant research to date has reported on parents’ experiences of undertaking online antenatal education.


The objectives of this study were to explore new parents’ experiences of engaging in online antenatal education, and to discover how consumers of online antenatal education perceive it should be designed and delivered.


A mixed-methods design was used for this study, which was conducted with 294 past enrolees in a range of online antenatal and early parenting education programmes delivered by one private provider in Australia. The past enrolees were invited to participate in the study by email, wherein a link to an online information sheet and survey containing closed- and open-ended questions was provided. The responses to the open-ended questions that are reported in this article were analysed using a thematic approach that involved coding, sub-categorizing and then categorizing the data.


A total of 108 participants provided qualitative data about the delivery and design of online antenatal education and information. The data were captured in three themes: video control and content, accessibility and pre-/intra-programme support.


The results of this study provide important insights for the development of online antenatal education programmes and courses that will be of interest to antenatal educators, maternity services and maternity care policy developers. Specifically, millennial parents want trustworthy and accurate antenatal education that is delivered in a framework that aligns with and builds on adult-learning principles. The diversity of families and of expectant parents’ learning styles is also important to recognize in antenatal education curricula.


Wallace, Heather Julie; Bayes, Sara; Davenport, Cindy; Grant, Melissa (2023): How should online antenatal and parenting education be structured according to parents? Qualitative findings from a mixed-methods retrospective study. SAGE Journals. Collection.
Select your citation style and then place your mouse over the citation text to select it.


need help?