Group antenatal care is a rapidly expanding alternative antenatal care delivery model. Research has shown it to be a safe and effective care model for women, but less is known about the perspectives of the providers leading this care. This systematic review examined published literature that considered health care professionals’ experiences of facilitating group antenatal care.
Systematic searches were conducted in seven databases (Cinahl, Medline, Psychinfo, Embase, Ovid Emcare, Global Health and MIDRS) in April 2020. Qualitative or mixed methods studies with a significant qualitative component were eligible for inclusion if they included a focus on the experiences of health care providers who had facilitated group antenatal care. Prisma screening guidelines were followed and study quality was critically appraised by three independent reviewers. The findings were synthesised thematically.
Nineteen papers from nine countries were included. Three main themes emerged within provider experiences of group antenatal care. The first theme, ‘Giving women the care providers feel they want and need’, addresses richer use of time, more personal care, more support, and continuity of care. The second theme, ‘Building skills and relationships’, highlights autonomy, role development and hierarchy dissolution. The final theme, ‘Value proposition of group antenatal care’, discusses provider investment and workload.
Health care providers’ experience of delivering group antenatal care was positive overall. Opportunities to deliver high-quality care that benefits women and allows providers to develop their professional role were appreciated. Questions about the providers’ perspectives on workload, task shifting, and the structural changes needed to support the sustainability of group antenatal care warrant further exploration.