Knowledge change associated with participation in prenatal education programs in Ontario: A cohort study

Katelyn M. Godin, Gillian D. Alton, Harshani P. Gangodawilage, Theresa D. Procter, Natalie B. Bourdages, Susan E. Blue, Sarah A. Edwards, Melissa J. Horan


OBJECTIVES: The primary objective was to examine how participation in prenatal programs delivered by Ontario public health units influences pregnant women’s pregnancy-related knowledge. Secondary objectives were to examine the socio-demographic characteristics of women participating in these programs and assess program satisfaction.

METHODS: A cohort study was conducted of 511 adult pregnant women who were registered for a prenatal program within one of seven Ontario public health units. Participants completed a pre-program survey, which examined socio-demographic and pregnancy characteristics, and baseline pregnancyrelated knowledge. After finishing the program, participants completed a post-program survey investigating pregnancy-related knowledge and program satisfaction. Pregnancy-related knowledge was assessed using the Healthy Pregnancies Knowledge Survey, which captures knowledge within three subtopic areas: healthy pregnancies, healthy lifestyles and breastfeeding.

RESULTS: Participants demonstrated a significant increase in mean knowledge scores, both overall and across each subtopic area. Most participants reported that their program satisfied their questions either mostly or very well across all content areas examined.

CONCLUSION: This study is the first large-scale effort to examine the ability of prenatal programs offered through Ontario public health units to influence clients’ pregnancy-related knowledge. These findings contribute to the evidence base for prenatal education program planning.


Prenatal education; health knowledge; attitudes; practice; parents; program evaluation; nursing evaluation research

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