Enhancing antenatal education in Pakistan: an audit and recommendations

Maliha Abbas, Shelina Bhamani, Yasmin Kanjani, Lumaan Sheikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Antenatal Education equips parents with knowledge for safe maternal health and infant care. It also reduces fear and anxiety during childbirth. ANE curriculum can vary according to country and institute. It can include classes focusing on childbirth, pain relief techniques, mode of birth, parenting, breastfeeding, breathing techniques, etc. Although ANE is widely practiced in developed countries, there is no standard program in developing countries like Pakistan. This study aims to improve antenatal education at a tertiary care hospital in Karachi, Pakistan potentially proposing an upgraded curriculum as a national standard. Methods: This multiphase study used mix-method design was conducted in the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department of a tertiary care hospital of Karachi, Pakistan from 2019 to 2021. Phase 1 of the study included reviewing and comparing the hospital’s antenatal curriculum with existing literature, followed by Phase 2, which was a desk review of attendance and patient feedback. The 3rd phase involved IDIs (in depth interviews) from health care workers (Obstetrics experts) to understand their perspectives regarding the ANE and the conducted classes. For phase one, gaps were identified and reported theoretically. For phase two, the annual attendance was recorded and participants’ satisfaction with the classes assessed. Qualitative data from phase 2 and 3 was converted into themes and sub-themes. Results: The audit showed a decline in the attendance of antenatal classes due to the pandemic and consequent shift to online sessions. The low attendance in online courses could be attributed to various factors. Patient feedback was generally positive, with a majority expressing high satisfaction levels. Expert feedback highlighted the need for additional topics such as mental health and COVID in pregnancy, as well as fathers' involvement. The curriculum was updated to include these topics and made more interactive with printed handouts for parents. Conclusion: A standardized antenatal education covering various topics surrounding pregnancy, childbirth, and postnatal care must be available to parents nationwide.

Original languageEnglish
Article number645
JournalBMC Women's Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Antenatal
  • Curriculum
  • Education
  • Parents


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