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Effects of natural childbirth preparation versus standard antenatal education on epidural rates, experience of childbirth and parental stress in mothers and fathers: a randomised controlled multicentre trial
Article first published online: 27 MAY 2009
© 2009 The Authors Journal compilation © RCOG 2009 BJOG An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Volume 116, Issue 9, pages 1167–1176, August 2009
How to Cite
Bergström, M., Kieler, H. and Waldenström, U. (2009), Effects of natural childbirth preparation versus standard antenatal education on epidural rates, experience of childbirth and parental stress in mothers and fathers: a randomised controlled multicentre trial. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 116: 1167–1176. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2009.02144.x
- Issue published online: 10 JUL 2009
- Article first published online: 27 MAY 2009
- Accepted 29 January 2009. Published Online 27 May 2009.
- Antenatal education;
- childbirth experience;
Objective To examine the effects of antenatal education focussing on natural childbirth preparation with psychoprophylactic training versus standard antenatal education on the use of epidural analgesia, experience of childbirth and parental stress in first-time mothers and fathers.
Design Randomised controlled multicentre trial.
Setting Fifteen antenatal clinics in Sweden between January 2006 and May 2007.
Sample A total of 1087 nulliparous women and 1064 of their partners.
Methods Natural group: Antenatal education focussing on natural childbirth preparation with training in breathing and relaxation techniques (psychoprophylaxis). Standard care group: Standard antenatal education focussing on both childbirth and parenthood, without psychoprophylactic training. Both groups: Four 2-hour sessions in groups of 12 participants during third trimester of pregnancy and one follow-up after delivery.
Main outcome measures Epidural analgesia during labour, experience of childbirth as measured by the Wijma Delivery Experience Questionnaire (B), and parental stress measured by the Swedish Parenthood Stress Questionnaire.
Results The epidural rate was 52% in both groups. There were no statistically significant differences in the experience of childbirth or parental stress between the randomised groups, either in women or men. Seventy percent of the women in the Natural group reported having used psychoprophylaxis during labour. A minority in the Standard care group (37%) had also used this method, but subgroup analysis where these women were excluded did not change the principal findings.
Conclusion Natural childbirth preparation including training in breathing and relaxation did not decrease the use of epidural analgesia during labour, nor did it improve the birth experience or affect parental stress in early parenthood in nulliparous women and men, compared with a standard form of antenatal education.