9.0 Introduction

The practical nurse can play a significant role in the process of providing patient education during pregnancy. The prenatal patient, especially the first-time mother, may have many questions and concerns about this period in her life. Much of the information she may have is probably inaccurate or incomplete. You, as a practical nurse, must provide accurate and complete information about self-care concerns, diet needs, what to expect as labor and delivery approaches, and the dangers within the environment, which may affect the health of the unborn infant.

Types of Education for Prenatal Patients Preparing for Paranthood

Individual teaching and counseling, information groups, discussion or counseling groups, and prepared childbirth groups are the types of education that are presented in this lesson.

a. Individual Teaching and Counseling.

(1) One-to-one teaching. This type of teaching is used in all nursing settings. It teaches on an individual basis as needed. One-to-one teaching is beneficial in teaching patients to understand and to adapt to health problems with a pregnancy.
(2) Counseling. This entails an interchange of opinions or giving of advice. It is more personal and feeling-oriented. When counseling is used in combination with facts, it enhances learning. It takes into account the patient's feelings.

b. Information Groups.

(1) These are planned groups to serve everyone in the community. It provides information on the physiology of childbearing, general hygiene, nutrition during pregnancy and lactation, preparations for the baby, and care of the mother and baby after delivery.
(2) Methods of presentation include lecture, films and slides, questions and discussion, and tours of appropriate areas (labor and delivery, newborn, and postpartum).
(3) These groups are organized by the American National Red Cross, the YWCA, Public Health Departments, Adult Education Programs at community schools/colleges, hospitals, and groups of physicians.

c. Discussion or Counseling Groups.

(1) There is no structured curriculum for this type of teaching. Discussion is developed from the contributions of group members. The group leader must be knowledgeable and able to discuss all topics concerning obstetric and newborn care.
(2) This type of instruction has the advantage of not limiting the discussion to certain topics as done in class groups. It allows for more participation and involvement by the parents. Remember, it takes a highly qualified individual who is good at listening but who is also capable to keep the discussion going.

d. Prepared Childbirth Groups.

(1) This is a form of informational instruction but includes active participation by the group to prevent the fear-tension-pain mechanism of labor. It is designed to eliminate fear during pregnancy.
(2) Facts taught concern:
(a) Anatomy and physiology of childbearing.
(b) Appropriate care of the pregnant woman.
(c) Sensations likely to accompany labor.
(d) Methods to work cooperatively with the sensations.
(e) Exercises to strengthen muscles in labor.
(f) Breathing techniques to develop relaxation during labor.
(g) Needs of the baby after birth.
(h) Information about growth and development.


David L. Heiserman, Editor

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Revised: June 06, 2015