Antenatal educators, antenatal education, facilitation, participatory education
Antenatal education is recommended to prospective parents, yet little is known about the educational preparation of the facilitators of this education, or of the educational practices they use. The aim of this study was to investigate the educational preparation and practices of antenatal educators in Ireland. Data were collected using a questionnaire structured on the three components (abilities, opportunities, and means) of Stamler's theoretical framework of enablement. Eighty-four of the 120 antenatal educators responded (70%), and this included midwives, public health nurses, physiotherapists, and private antenatal educators. Findings describe a picture of varied educational preparation for the antenatal educator with a range of educational practices being used. Within public antenatal classes, large class size was a barrier to providing a participatory educational approach.