Get access

A Review of Nursing Interventions to Foster Becoming a Mother


  • Ramona T. Mercer,

    Corresponding author
    1. Ramona T. Mercer, RN, PhD, FAAN, is a professor emerita at the Department of Family Health Nursing in the University of California, San Francisco, Burlingame.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Lorraine O. Walker

    1. Lorraine O. Walker, RN, EdD, FAAN, is a professor at the School of Nursing in the University of Texas at Austin.
    Search for more papers by this author

Address for correspondence: Ramona T. Mercer, RN, PhD, FAAN, Department of Family Health Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, 1809 Ashton Avenue, Burlingame, CA 94010-5712. E-mail:


Objective:  To determine the current state of knowledge of nursing interventions that foster the process of becoming a mother.

Data Sources:  A literature search was conducted using CINAHL and PubMed electronic databases and other key references.

Study Selection:  Reports on nursing intervention research published in English that focused on a facet of maternal behavior in the process of becoming a mother during pregnancy or during the first 4 months following birth, or both, were included. Twenty eight reports were found.

Data Extraction:  Studies were reviewed, categorized, and analyzed and interventions synthesized to determine the current knowledge base for fostering becoming a mother. Categories included instructions for infant caregiving, building awareness of and responsiveness to infant interactive capabilities, promoting maternal-infant attachment, maternal/social role preparation, and interactive therapeutic nurse-client relationships.

Data Synthesis:  Interactive therapeutic nurse-client relationships and maternal/social role preparation had greater impact on variables indicating progress in becoming a mother than formal teaching. Instructions without nurse input were ineffective.

Conclusions:  Interactive reciprocal nursing interventions are the most effective in enhancing mother-infant interactions and maternal knowledge about infant care. Evidence is limited on how to foster the mother’s feelings about herself in becoming a mother and attachment to her infant. JOGNN, 35, 568-582; 2006. DOI: 10.1111/J.1552-6909.2006.00080.x