Antenatal education – Putting research into practice: A guideline review

Alessia Ferri, Kerry L. Sutcliffe, Christine Catling, Elizabeth Newnham, Kate M. Levett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Problem: Antenatal care guidelines used in Australia are inconsistent in their recommendations for childbirth and parenting education (CBPE) classes for preparation of women and parents for pregnancy, childbirth, and early parenting. 

Background: Clinical practice guidelines in maternity care are developed to assist healthcare practitioners and consumers to make decisions about appropriate care. The benefit of such guidelines relies on the translation and quality of the evidence contained within them. In the context of antenatal care guidelines, there is a potential evidence-practice gap with regard to CBPE. 

Aims: This review aims to appraise the quality of Australian antenatal care guidelines in their recommendations for CBPE for women and partners. 

Methods: Publicly available Australian antenatal care guidelines were identified including local health district websites and professional organisations pertaining to maternity care. Guidelines were reviewed independently, and the quality was assessed using the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation II (AGREE II) tool. 

Findings: Five guidelines were included in the review and appraised using AGREE II. With the exception of the Department of Health Pregnancy Care Guidelines, guidelines scored poorly across all six domains. When appraised according to specific CBPE recommendations for rigour of development, presentation, and applicability; all guidelines received low scores. 

Discussion: Prenatal services remain largely unregulated across the board, with no systematic approach to make recommendations for CBPE and guidelines lacking in rigour with regard to CBPE. 

Conclusion: Within the guidelines reviewed there was a lack of evidence-based recommendations provided for educators or consumers regarding childbirth and parenting education.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103960
Number of pages6
Early online date1 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished - May 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Antenatal care
  • Childbirth and parent education
  • Clinical guidelines
  • Guideline review
  • Pregnancy


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