A study of the learning projects of pregnant women
Grassing, Mary Lou
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The purpose of this descriptive study was to examine the deliberate learning projects of women during their first pregnancy. The study focused on their learning projects which dealt with the topics of pregnancy, childbirth and the newborn. A learning project consisted of several related episodes of learning occupying a total time of at least seven hours. During this time the learner made a deliberate attempt to gain and retain certain definite knowledge and skill. Fifty women comprised the selectedÂ· sample for the study. Twenty-five of these women had attended prenatal clases, 25 had not attended prenatal classes. Each respondent was interviewed, 4 to 12 weeks following the birth of her infant, using a semi-structured interview schedule. The respondents identified 141 learning projects which had been conducted during their pregnancies, which were related to the topics of pregnancy, childbirth, and the newborn. Each of these learning projects was examined in detail including the content of learning, the length of the project, the planner for the project, and the resources used. These women regarded learning related to pregnancy as a serious endeavor, about which they spent time and effort during their pregnancies. The learning needs and goals of the individuals interviewed did vary. As well, they made suggestions as to what would have improved their learning. The learning projects ranged in length from seven hours to 180 hours. The majority of the learning projects were self-planned, with group instructors, objects, and experts used to a lesser extent. The respondents used many resources for their learning: books and pamphlets, friends and relatives, experts, films, and television. The respondents who attended prenatal classes identified this as only one resource that they used for their learning projects. Those who did not attend prenatal classes identified reasons as to why they chose not to attend. The desire to learn independently was the most cited reason. Recommendations have been made on the basis of the results of this study. These recommendations have relevance for health professionals who practise in the prenatal field and most especially for community health nurses.