Objective: antenatal programmes might be effective in preventing unhealthy lifestyles, poor maternal infant care practices, and poor psychosocial health in ethnic minority women, but there are few evidence-based interventions. For this reason an antenatal education programme, called 'Happy Mothers, Happy Babies' (HMHB) was systematically designed for ethnic Turkish women in the Netherlands. Design: in a non-randomised trial Turkish women attending HMHB (HMHB group) were compared with those receiving care as usual (control group). Setting: Parent-Child Centres, which provide integrated maternity and infant care. Participants: in both the HMHB (n=119) and the control (n=120) group, questionnaires were administered by ethnic Turkish interviewers at three (T0) and eight (T1) months of pregnancy, and two (T2) and six (T3) months after birth. Findings: at baseline, women in the HMHB group had significantly lower educational levels, were less frequently in paid employment, had less knowledge about smoking, and showed more often mildly depressive symptoms. Adjusted analyses showed that HMHB was effective in improving knowledge about smoking (OR=2.73; 95% CI 1.40, 5.31), intention to engage in prevention of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) (OR=8.08; 95% CI 3.34, 19.56) and short-term SIDS prevention behaviour (OR=2.22; 95% CI=1.18, 4.19). However, no intervention effect was found for smoking during pregnancy, SIDS prevention behaviour on the long term, soothing behaviour, serious depressive symptoms, and parent-child attachment. Key conclusions: although we could not demonstrate intervention effects on all outcome measures, the HMHB programme appears to be highly welcome, and reaches an underserved minority group at increased risk for adverse perinatal outcomes. Implications for practice: the HMHB programme is one of the first systematically developed antenatal interventions for ethnic minority women. The programme can be used as a basic antenatal programme, and as a screening opportunity for women who smoke or show serious depressive symptoms. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.