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Improving Perinatal Care Through Theory Application

Côté-Arsenault, Denise PhD, RN, CPLC, FNAP, FAAN; Hubbard, Lori Johnson MSN, RN, IBCLC

MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing: November/December 2019 - Volume 44 - Issue 6 - p 345–350
doi: 10.1097/NMC.0000000000000564
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Theories from various perspectives can increase nurses' understanding of maternal behaviors throughout the developmental process of pregnancy and postpartum. The purpose of this article is to present relevant theories that maternity nurses will likely find useful, and to demonstrate their applicability through an unfolding exemplar case. Nurses can provide improved and more sensitive care when guided by psychosocial theories such as Rubin's tasks of pregnancy, prenatal attachment, pregnancy as a liminal phase, and the grief work in postpartum as proposed by Mercer. Use of relevant theories can promote holistic nursing care, increase critical thinking, and improve nursing responsiveness to unique family situations such as pregnancy after loss and premature birth.

Theories can increase nurses' understanding of maternal behaviors during the developmental processes of pregnancy and postpartum. In this article, relevant theories that maternity nurses will likely find useful are presented in an unfolding exemplar case. Application of theories to clinical practice can promote holistic nursing care, increase critical thinking, and improve nursing responsiveness to unique family situations such as pregnancy after loss and premature birth.

Denise Côté-Arsenault is the Eloise R. Lewis Excellence Professor, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina Greensboro, Greensboro, NC. Dr. Côté-Arsentalt can be reached via e-mail at D_cotear@uncg.edu

Lori Johnson Hubbard is a Clinical Instructor, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina Greensboro, Greensboro, NC.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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