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Keywords:

  • mothers with disabilities;
  • prenatal education;
  • emancipation;
  • maternity nursing;
  • qualitative

Prenatal education for mothers with disabilities

Prenatal nurse educators are well prepared to meet the learning needs of many expectant mothers. But how prepared are they to meet the learning needs of mothers with disabilities? To answer this question, eight mothers with various chronic illnesses located in north-eastern Ontario, Canada were asked to describe their maternity experiences. Given the small convenience sample and exploratory nature of the study, a qualitative content analysis was done. The mothers’ reports described interaction with a variety of health professionals. This analysis focuses on findings specific to nurses who provide prenatal education. In general, mothers reported they had received insufficient, inappropriate information, especially about their pregnancy and chronic illnesses. The mothers thought that nurses doubted the ability of women with disabilities to be decision-makers or responsible and ‘proper’ mothers. Suggestions by disabled mothers for quality care in prenatal education are described. A more emancipatory approach to preparing nurses for practice as prenatal educators is recommended. Such an approach can reduce the barriers associated with power differences between women with disabilities as ‘learners’ and their nurse ‘teachers’.