Group prenatal care experiences among pregnant women in a Bangladeshi community

Sultana, Marufa and Ali, Nausad and Akram, Raisul and Jahir, Tania and Mahumud, Rashidul Alam and Sarker, Abdur Razzaque and Islam, Ziaul (2019) Group prenatal care experiences among pregnant women in a Bangladeshi community. PLoS ONE, 14 (6). e0218169. ISSN 1932-6203 (

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Background Complications during pregnancy, childbirth, and following delivery remain significant challenges that contribute to maternal morbidity and mortality, thus affecting health systems worldwide. Group prenatal care (GPC) is an integrated approach incorporating peer support and health education that provides prenatal care in a group setting. The GPC approach was piloted in a district of Bangladesh to measure the feasibility and effectiveness of GPC compared to individual care. Understanding the experiences of women of receiving this grouped care approach is crucial to understand the perspectives, perception, and acceptability of the programme among mothers, which are lack in Bangladesh. The objective of the present study was to understand the core experiences and perspectives of mothers who participated in GPC sessions during their pregnancy period. Methods A qualitative research approach was used to understand the experiences of women receiving GPC. A total of 21 in-depth interviews were conducted in this study targeting pregnant mothers who attended all recommended GPC sessions. Face-to-face interviews were conducted by trained and experienced interviewers using a specific interview guideline to achieve detailed responses. Thematic analysis was conducted to analyse the data. Results Mothers appreciated receiving pregnancy care in group setting and expressed their preferences towards GPC compared to individual care. Themes included the comprehensiveness of GPC, prescheduled appointments and reduced waiting time, social gathering, coping with common discomforts, relationship with service providers, birth preparedness, and recommendations from participating mothers. The themes conveyed overall positive experiences of the participating mothers, with suggestions for further betterment of the programme. Nevertheless, the reported experiences of women involved in the study suggests that the inclusion of a specialist in group care, post-partum care, and family planning advice will be more beneficial in the GPC model. Conclusions The overall experiences of the women in the present study suggest that GPC is helpful for them, and it is useful to reduce complications during pregnancy. The GPC model promises movement towards family-supported care, as explained by the participants.