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Effect of antenatal education in small classes versus standard auditorium-based lectures on use of pain relief during labour and of obstetric interventions: results from the randomised NEWBORN trial
  1. Carina Sjöberg Brixval1,
  2. Lau Caspar Thygesen1,
  3. Solveig Forberg Axelsen1,
  4. Christian Gluud2,
  5. Per Winkel2,
  6. Jane Lindschou2,
  7. Tom Weber3,
  8. Pernille Due1,
  9. Vibeke Koushede1
  1. 1National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark
  2. 2Copenhagen Trial Unit, Centre for Clinical Intervention Research, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
  3. 3Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Hvidovre Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, Hvidovre, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to Carina Sjöberg Brixval; cabr{at}


Objective To examine the effect of an antenatal education programme in small classes versus standard auditorium-based lectures.

Design Randomised trial using random-generated web-based 1:1 allocation.

Setting The largest birth site in the Capital Region of Denmark, from August 2012 to May 2014.

Participants 1766 pregnant women. Inclusion criteria ≥18 years, pregnant with a single child, and able to speak and understand Danish. Women were enrolled in the trial from 10+0 to 20+0 weeks of gestation.

Interventions The intervention programme consisted of three times 2.5 hours of antenatal education in small classes (n=6–8 women), and focused on improving information and problem-solving skills for expectant parents in order to ease birth and the transition to parenthood. The control group received standard auditorium-based lectures consisting of two times 2 hours in an auditorium with participation of ∼250 people.

Main outcome measures The primary trial outcome was use of epidural analgesia. Other types of pain relief and obstetric interventions were analysed as explorative outcomes.

Results There was no statistically significant difference in use of epidural analgesia between participants in the intervention group (30.9%) versus the control group (29.1%), adjusted OR 1.10 (95% CI 0.87 to 1.34). Also, the two groups did not differ regarding other types of pain relief or obstetric interventions. Concomitant birth preparation was common in both groups and highest in the control group, but did not seem to influence our results noticeably.

Conclusions Antenatal education in small groups versus standard auditorium-based lectures did not differ regarding use of epidural analgesia, other pain relief, or obstetric interventions.

Trial registration number NCT01672437; Results.

  • Antenatal education

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