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A public health strategy for prenatal health promotion

Prenatal health in Ottawa

The goal of this project is to document the experiences, perceptions and recommendations of Ottawa- region prenatal health instructors.

This research study addresses the following question:
Do Ottawa women have access to inclusive and comprehensive prenatal health promotion that harmonizes with current reproductive health guidelines?

Terrell RM, Soucy NL, Chedid RA, Phillips KP. Ottawa prenatal educator e-survey: Experiences and perceptions of public health nurses and allied childbirth educators. J Educ Health Promot. 2021 May 20;10:161.

Research Team
Rowan Terrell
Nura Soucy
Rebecca Chedid


Background: Prenatal education provides opportunities for health promotion of healthy behaviors and risk reduction. Quality and coherence with prenatal health promotion best practices depend on an individual class instructor. The objective of our study was to document the experiences, practices, and perceptions of our diverse Ottawa, Canada community of prenatal educators.

Materials and methods: In this quantitative, mixed methods e-survey conducted in Ottawa, Canada, prenatal educators were asked to describe their prenatal class settings, delivery formats, content, perceptions of pregnant women, and recommendations. Data were analyzed by descriptive statistics and thematic content analysis.

Results: Respondents included public health nurses and a diverse group of "allied childbirth educators" (ACE). Topics related to pregnancy, labor, and postpartum issues were well addressed; however, established and emerging risks to pregnancy were omitted. Nurses were more likely to discuss lifestyle risks to pregnancy and general prenatal health promotion, whereas ACE respondents emphasized informed consent and individualized counseling. Women marginalized by social exclusion including Indigenous women, immigrants, and women with disabilities were perceived as missing from prenatal educational settings.

Conclusions: Heterogeneity of prenatal education provides opportunities for collaboration; however, established and emerging risk factors to pregnancy are neglected topics. Addressing the needs of diverse communities of pregnant women requires timely, evidence-based, inclusive, and culturally safe delivery of prenatal health promotion.

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