Impacts of online and group perinatal education: a mixed methods study protocol for the optimization of perinatal health services.

  • Date de publication : 2018-05-29


Roch G, Borgès Da Silva R, de Montigny F, Witteman HO, Pierce T, Semenic S, Poissant J, Parent AA, White D, Chaillet N, Dubois CA, Ouimet M, Lapointe G, Turcotte S, Prud'homme A, Painchaud Guérard G, Gagnon MP. Impacts of online and group perinatal education: a mixed methods study protocol for the optimization of perinatal health services. BMC Health Serv Res. 2018 May 29;18(1):382. doi: 10.1186/s12913-018-3204-9. PubMed PMID: 29843691; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5975463.



Prenatal education is a core component of perinatal care and services provided by health institutions. Whereas group prenatal education is the most common educational model, some health institutions have opted to implement online prenatal education to address accessibility issues as well as the evolving needs of future parents. Various studies have shown that prenatal education can be effective in acquisition of knowledge on labour and delivery, reducing psychological distress and maximising father's involvement. However, these results may depend on educational material, organization, format and content. Furthermore, the effectiveness of online prenatal education compared to group prenatal education remains unclear in the literature. This project aims to evaluate the impacts of group prenatal education and online prenatal education on health determinants and users' health status, as well as on networks of perinatal educational services maintained with community-based partners.


This multipronged mixed methods study uses a collaborative research approach to integrate and mobilize knowledge throughout the process. It consists of: 1) a prospective cohort study with quantitative data collection and qualitative interviews with future and new parents; and 2) a multiple case study integrating documentary sources and interviews with stakeholders involved in the implementation of perinatal information service networks and collaborations with community partners. Perinatal health indicators and determinants will be compared between prenatal education groups (group prenatal education and online prenatal education) and standard care without these prenatal education services (control group).


This study will provide knowledge about the impact of online prenatal education as a new technological service delivery model compared to traditional group prenatal education. Indicators related to the complementarity of these interventions and those available in community settings will refine our understanding of regional perinatal services networks. Results will assist decision-making regarding service organization and delivery models of prenatal education services.


Version 1 (February 9 2018).


Childbirth education; Community health networks; Community health services; Health status indicators; Mixed methods; Online education; Perinatal care; Pregnancy; Prenatal education