A qualitative study of women's experience of a perinatal group health-promoting programme
Antenatal and parenting programmes are a way of supporting and empowering parents. However, not all informational needs are being met, and nor are programmes equipping women with skills and confidence to meet the challenges of parenthood.
To explore women's experiences of participating in a group psycho-educational programme across their pregnancy and early postnatal period.
A qualitative descriptive design was applied, incorporating thematic analysis to identify themes in the data.
The programme demonstrated practical benefits such as dissemination of timely information, continuity of care and professional support. It enabled opportunities for mastering new tasks and increased a woman's social support network.
Focusing on the entire perinatal period can promote better perinatal health and psychosocial outcomes.
An investment in strategies to promote ‘a healthy start to life’ is thought to reduce health inequalities across the entire course of life (Marmot et al, 2012). Extensive research has been conducted examining various indices of maternity care to measure success across the perinatal period. For example, with respect to antenatal care, researchers have explored aspects of the content and timing of care, so as to promote healthy outcomes for women and their infants (Beeckman et al, 2011). Of equal importance is quality of care, although a major evidence gap exists with respect to our knowledge of how to implement care that is both clinically relevant and a positive experience for the woman, so that she is encouraged to seek assistance and timely care (Graham et al, 2013). Quality care is therefore an important aspect of the wider challenge towards effective programme implementation in perinatal health.
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