A communication and information strategy in health and preparation for childbirth: a randomized cluster trial (PRENACEL)

Abstract: PRENACEL is a study that incorporates two innovative approaches to maternal and perinatal health: the need to improve women’s level of satisfaction with the birthing experience and an assessment of the impacts of information and communication technologies in health. The approaches involve a communication program via short cellphone text messages, developed for Brazilian pregnant women in prenatal care in the Brazilian Unified National Health System. The analysis aims to determine whether the program contributes positively to women’s perceived preparedness for childbirth. A randomized cluster trial was performed in 20 primary care units in Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo State, in 2015 and 2016. Data were collected for 1,210 women from interviews and patient charts. The data were submitted to two analytical models, per protocol and intention-to-treat. Women that had received information from the PRENACEL program during pregnancy were more likely to feel prepared for labor and delivery and to feel that prenatal care had helped them feel more prepared. There were also positive impacts on bonding with the newborn and breastfeeding in the delivery room and on knowledge of obstetric interventions. No differences were seen in the other maternal and perinatal outcomes, including women’s satisfaction with the birthing care. PRENACEL can help expand women’s access to strategic information for them to feel better prepared for the birthing experience.