Too much like school

social class, age, marital status and attendance/non-attendance at antenatal classes

Dallas Cliff, Ruth Deery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: to investigate patterns of attendance and non-attendance at National Health Service antenatal classes of first-time mothers in the indigenous white population of a large northern city of the UK.

Design: survey using questionnaires, and selected participants were then given an in-depth interview.

Setting: five maternity wards in two large northern hospitals in the UK. In-depth interviews took place in the respondents' homes.

Participants: fifty newly delivered women were surveyed of whom 18 took part in the follow-up interviews.

Findings: there was a clear hierarchy in attendance and non-attendance based on social class, with middle class women being the most regular attenders, closely followed by older, married, working class women. However, overall social class differences were found to be accounted for by the overwhelming non attendance of young, unmarried, working class women. Older, married, working class women were found to have attendance patterns which were close to their middle class counterparts, and what differences there were seemed to be based on material factors.

Key conclusions: the majority of women felt that antenatal classes were too technical and did not address emotional and psychological issues. However, young, single, unmarried women perceived the classes most negatively. If midwives are to attract such young women, their fears and their need for peer support will have to be recognised.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-145
Number of pages6
JournalMidwifery
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1997
Externally publishedYes

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Marital Status
Social Class
Working Women
Interviews
National Health Programs
Midwifery
Population Groups
Fear
Mothers
Psychology
Surveys and Questionnaires

Cite this

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title = "Too much like school: social class, age, marital status and attendance/non-attendance at antenatal classes",
abstract = "Objective: to investigate patterns of attendance and non-attendance at National Health Service antenatal classes of first-time mothers in the indigenous white population of a large northern city of the UK.Design: survey using questionnaires, and selected participants were then given an in-depth interview.Setting: five maternity wards in two large northern hospitals in the UK. In-depth interviews took place in the respondents' homes.Participants: fifty newly delivered women were surveyed of whom 18 took part in the follow-up interviews.Findings: there was a clear hierarchy in attendance and non-attendance based on social class, with middle class women being the most regular attenders, closely followed by older, married, working class women. However, overall social class differences were found to be accounted for by the overwhelming non attendance of young, unmarried, working class women. Older, married, working class women were found to have attendance patterns which were close to their middle class counterparts, and what differences there were seemed to be based on material factors.Key conclusions: the majority of women felt that antenatal classes were too technical and did not address emotional and psychological issues. However, young, single, unmarried women perceived the classes most negatively. If midwives are to attract such young women, their fears and their need for peer support will have to be recognised.",
author = "Dallas Cliff and Ruth Deery",
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Too much like school : social class, age, marital status and attendance/non-attendance at antenatal classes. / Cliff, Dallas; Deery, Ruth.

In: Midwifery, Vol. 13, No. 3, 09.1997, p. 139-145.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AB - Objective: to investigate patterns of attendance and non-attendance at National Health Service antenatal classes of first-time mothers in the indigenous white population of a large northern city of the UK.Design: survey using questionnaires, and selected participants were then given an in-depth interview.Setting: five maternity wards in two large northern hospitals in the UK. In-depth interviews took place in the respondents' homes.Participants: fifty newly delivered women were surveyed of whom 18 took part in the follow-up interviews.Findings: there was a clear hierarchy in attendance and non-attendance based on social class, with middle class women being the most regular attenders, closely followed by older, married, working class women. However, overall social class differences were found to be accounted for by the overwhelming non attendance of young, unmarried, working class women. Older, married, working class women were found to have attendance patterns which were close to their middle class counterparts, and what differences there were seemed to be based on material factors.Key conclusions: the majority of women felt that antenatal classes were too technical and did not address emotional and psychological issues. However, young, single, unmarried women perceived the classes most negatively. If midwives are to attract such young women, their fears and their need for peer support will have to be recognised.

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