Learning Objective 1: recognize the influence of antenatal education on the levels of anxiety and childbirth self-efficacy
Learning Objective 2: reevaluate the impact of antenatal education on the women's childbirth self-efficacy
Childbirth self-efficacy is an important factor influencing women’s abilities to cope with labor pain and birth. Evidence of the efficacy of antenatal education to strengthen women’s self-efficacy to cope with childbirth is controversial. The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of antenatal education classes on the levels of anxiety and childbirth self-efficacy in nulliparous Israeli women.
An observational study was conducted on a convenience sample of 31women who participated in a five-week antenatal education program including a visit of a delivery room and 39 women who participated in a two-week antenatal education program. The participants completed questionnaires measuring anxiety and childbirth self-efficacy before and after attending classes. Another 32 women who did not attend any antenatal programs completed the same questionnaires.
ANOVA and the paired t-test were used to analyze data. Both the short and long antenatal education programs resulted in a significant decrease of childbirth-associated anxiety (p=.004). After completion of antenatal programs, the anxiety levels were strongly associated with the childbirth self-efficacy levels (r=.35, p=.001). However, attending the programs had no significant impact on the level of childbirth self-efficacy (p>.05). Furthermore, the levels of anxiety and self-efficacy of women who did not attend any antenatal programs were similar to those who did (p>.05).
A lack of influence of the antenatal education programs on the level of childbirth self-efficacy raises questions about the contribution of antenatal education and the role of midwives in applying learning strategies to enhance coping with labor pain and birth and to strengthen women's childbirth self-efficacy.