¶ … prenatal education improves the rate at which newborn infants arrive into this world without undue stress and hardship on the family. Additionally, this review seeks to determine what educational actions can be taken before the newborn arrives to assist the family in acclimating themselves to a change in the family structure, especially if the family structure is affected by the newborn who is born with medical problems. Little Johnny or Little Mary were created out of love (or lust as the case may be) but now that the news has been broadcast throughout the immediate family and friends, reality sets in and the worries begin. Questions such as; will it be a boy or a girl, or will it have any maladies are oftentimes the questions that are at the top of the list. Will it be born without any defects, and how will the rest of the family adapt to a new member are frequently asked as well. Preparations are started and instructions, directions and guidance are sought. One of the questions that soon-to-be parents ask is where do they go for prenatal information, and better yet, who do they consult? In answer to that, the parents often seek out a maternity doctor or a midwife. Especially worrisome is the fact that a certain percentage of newborns are born with congenital diseases such as heart disease. These infants, who are oftentimes hospitalized for immediate care, provide a lot of stress and worry for their parents, families and family friends. To family members, who have been anticipating the new arrival for a number of months, discovering the newborn must remain in the hospital for long stretches of time, provides no solace or comfort that the medical community can usually provide to patients who are suffering from disease or injury.
An additional concern takes place when the infant is diagnosed during prenatal care with such medical maladies as spina bifada, neural tube defects, or genetic syndromes that often result in long-term disabilities. Such concerns can affect how the parents approach the pregnancy, and it certainly portends educational opportunities for everyone involved.
The theoretical lens through which this phenomenon will be observed is one that asks (and hopes to discover) whether prenatal educational information can alleviate or lessen the worry and hardship that comes with discovering a newborn is facing problems. Theoretically speaking, it should be possible to both discover any potential problems and then to successfully deal with those problems in an effective and efficient manner, as long as the individuals involved are trained in the correct manner. The stakeholders in this particular case are not just the parents, or the newborn infant, but the medical personnel as well as the other family members who will be effected by whatever procedures the infant will have to go through. Another theory allows that parents who opt to test for prenatal disabilities allows them to then have choices as to what actions to take. One famous case was Sarah Palin's amniocentesis that allowed her to express her gratitude for the procedure that gave her a chance to "prepare for her son's birth" (Westfall, 2008). Obstensibly Palin could have chosen to have the fetus aborted, but chose instead to raise the infant even though she knew the problems the child would face as well as how difficult it would be for her and her family.
As another report determined "Palin spoke gratefully about her strong family network and alluded to her ability to access resources while acknowledging others not as fortunate" (Pergament, 2013, p. 69).
There is a myriad of current literature dealing with prenatal care and education. One recent study (2013) resulted in a statement concerning a clear improvement in the prenatal detection rates of complex heart malformations (Asplin, Dellgren, Conner, 2013, p. 804). What the Asplin et al. study determined was that following a postgraduate education in obstetrical ultrasound both midwives and doctors showed a high percentage 'clear improvement' in detecting prenatal heart malformations. Educationally speaking, preparing for " a heart malformation, or a similar defect can be just as debilitating as the malformation itself. Knowing that a parent's newborn would face the possibility of staying in a hospital environment means that...
Pergament states "the privacy right relating to intimate relationships, the family, and decisions about whether to have a child is becoming less absolute" (p. 56); if that is true, then it may only be because there are so many choices currently available. The deciding factors on choice that the parents make according to Pergament include the woman's ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs, language barriers and education levels (p. 56) and that these factors are not predictive or uniform across cultural or ethnic groups (p. 57). Pergament states that many of the women she has come in contact with have refused prenatal testing for religious or cultural reasons but that just as many have undergone prenatal testing even though they may have religious or personal objections to abortion.
Pergament says that the reasons for undergoing the testing even with no abortion in mind is to prepare for the birth and share the diagnosis with family, friends and health professionals (p. 58). Even more importantly perhaps, is that Pergament states that "for parents of children with disabilities, educational issues are often a primary concern" (p. 56). Discovering literature that either proves or disproves the benefits of a good educational background for prenatal care is a simple matter; a 2012 study found that college students who completed a pregnancy course had an increased awareness of the positive and negative factors that can affect pregnancy that was 13% at the beginning of the course and 89 -- 93% by the end of the course (Delgado, p. 240). Other literature lends credence to the benefits of what happens to the infant once he/she is born.
Recently the researcher talked with a woman who had prenatal testing and was informed that her child would be born with a congenital disease that would mean long-term care and expenses that she could ill-afford to commit to. Her problem was that she did not believe in abortion, and she believed that every fetus was a child of God. Because of her religious beliefs, she was constrained as to her choices regarding aborting the fetus. She decided instead that she would have the baby; in order to ensure that her decision was a good one, she decided to search out as much educational advice and knowledge as she could personally endeavor. She went online to do research on what actions she could and should take as the infant grew inside her.
Her perseverance and positive attitude led her to delivering a baby that, while it suffered from a disability, was surely just as loved, protected and cared for as a newborn without the same problems. Her educational forays provided her with the knowledge and fortitude to face her challenges, and allowed her to pass her positive nature on to the infant she had chosen to keep. Studies have determined that the woman intuitively knew something that studies have determined is true; the fact that a focus on wellness rather than on an illness leads to improved mental and physical health, a better prognosis when illness strikes, and longevity (Selgiman, 2008, Wand, 2013).
Some of the core qualities that one would look for regarding prenatal education is the fact that as individuals learn what options are available to them, they are then able to make reasoned choices that help them to achieve their goals and objectives. Whether the it's the doctor, nurse, midwife, or parent who takes advantage of the education, the fact that it is available to them, and that they can then implement what it is that they learn is what the core quality is all about. Integrating education into the medical field can be so important, learning what is available is not the only benefit the end result is that parents are able to make the best decision based on their circumstances.
The study looks at how parents and other stakeholders approaches prenatal testing and education in order to make a measured decision on the results. The phenomenon is what takes place when prenatal education is available to the various stakeholders who have an interest in what takes place during pregnancy.
There are a number of disorders, malformations and deformities that can now be tested for prenatally, and many parents take advantage of the opportunity to do so. There are a number of advantages and qualities that are available through prenatal education; nurses and doctors can help plan for any problems, parents can be forewarned as to what to expect, and family and friends can be supportive through knowing how to help.
Asplin, N.; Dellgren, A. & Connor, P.; (2013) Education in obstetrical ultrasound -- an important factor for increasing the…
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