Date of Graduation

Fall 12-15-2017

Document Type

Project/Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

College/School

School of Nursing and Health Professions

First Advisor

Dr. Erin Grinshteyn

Second Advisor

Dr. Marie-Claude Couture

Abstract

The United States has some of the highest rates of maternal morbidity and mortality among developed countries. Comprehensive childbirth education is an important component of improving maternal health outcomes. This project was a pilot evaluation of a childbirth education course offered by Blossom Birth Services, a community-based non-profit organization providing resources for new and expectant families in the San Francisco Bay Area. A 41-item survey questionnaire was developed and administered to explore the impact of Blossom’s Natural Childbirth Prep course on women’s knowledge, feelings, and sense of self-efficacy regarding childbirth. Likert scales were used and thematic analysis of qualitative data was conducted. All survey respondents (N=13) indicated that the course reduced their fear of childbirth to some degree and prepared their partner to support them during labor and delivery. Most respondents indicated that after taking the course they felt prepared to have a vaginal birth without medical interventions and medications. All respondents attempted and subsequently had a vaginal birth but roughly half (58%) had some form of medical intervention. Qualitative data suggests that emphasizing “natural” childbirth and birth “plans” can foster negative feelings in women who have complicated births. More research into how language impacts women’s perceptions and feelings towards childbirth needs to be conducted. Suggestions for course and program improvements include modifications to course content, delivery, and language; systematic channeling of childbirth course participants into existing postpartum support classes; establishing a program to share birth experiences; and establishing a team and budget dedicated to program evaluation.

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