Group Based Antenatal Care: a mixed methods evaluation

Jenny McNeill, Kyrsten Corbijn van Willenswaard, Fiona Lynn, Lorna Lawther, Aideen Gildea, Fiona Alderdice, Denise Boulter, Siobhan Slavin

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Background Current evidence suggests that all facets of child development are influenced significantly by the foundations laid in early childhood. This begins during pregnancy, continuing through early years and is reflected in children’s readiness for school and subsequent educational outcomes. Antenatal care and education are generally recognised as the mechanisms through which improved maternal and infant outcomes are achieved both in the short and long-term. Important links between maternity care and early childhood services have encouraged early intervention to lessen social disadvantage and giving every child the best start in life is a strategic priority in the UK. In NI women generally attend regularly for antenatal care but uptake of antenatal education is low, even for first time mothers. An innovative group-based model was developed, combining care and education, promoting partnership working, informed choice and evidence-based preparation for birth and parenthood using The Solihull Antenatal Approach for first time mothers. Objectives The evaluation utilised a mixed methods approach comparing primiparous women who have received standard antenatal care and education with those receiving group antenatal care and education. Participants were invited to complete 3 questionnaires; 2 antenatal (14-20wks & 35-40wks) and 1 postnatal (approx. 12 weeks). Validated instruments were used to measure outcomes of interest such as adequacy of care and psychological well-being, in additional to clinical outcomes. Focus groups were conducted to understand the experiences of midwives and managers involved in implementing and delivering the model. An economic cost comparison analysis was also conducted. Methods A mixed methods study across NI was undertaken which included a comparison of women receiving group based antenatal care and education to women receiving routine care and education, with an economic component. Questionnaires were administered to women and their partners at 15-20 weeks’, 35-40 weeks’ gestation and 3 months’ postnatal. Outcomes included health and well-being, adequacy of antenatal care, maternal/paternal-fetal attachment, infant feeding and parenting confidence. Focus groups were conducted with health professionals implementing and delivering group based antenatal care. Findings Preliminary results from service users suggest pregnant women and their partners are responding positively to the changes to care provision. Focus group data highlighted midwives enjoy providing care in this model and the factors affecting successful introduction of organisational change. A full analysis of the results will be available by June 2019. Conclusions/Implications The findings of this evaluation will directly impact on both the provision of health and education services in NI with the ultimate aim of identifying best practice leading to optimal outcomes for parents and children.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2016
EventNormal Birth Conference - Grange-over-sands, United Kingdom
Duration: 14 Jun 201917 Jun 2019


ConferenceNormal Birth Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • antenatal care
  • group-based care
  • Antenatal education
  • pregnancy


Dive into the research topics of 'Group Based Antenatal Care: a mixed methods evaluation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this