There’s a need to ensure pregnant mothers enjoy a healthy pregnancy. While all healthcare providers are involved in maternal health and well-being, family nurse practitioners play a big role.
Unfortunately, family nurse practitioners are still scarce in healthcare settings, probably because of the steep learning curve. Becoming a FNP requires that you complete advanced nursing education. Various BSN to MSN FNP programs offer specialized training for these healthcare providers.
In their care settings, FNPs contribute to maternal health in the following ways:
1. Preconception Counseling
Preconception counseling guides and supports mothers and couples before pregnancy. This proactive approach forms the basis for healthy pregnancies.
It also supports the mother’s and fetus’s well-being. Responsibilities of FNPs during preconception counseling include:
- Assessing the mothers’ current health status, medical history, and existing medical conditions
- Identify health risks that can affect the pregnancy
- Offer advice on nutrition, lifestyle modification, and supplements required for a healthy pregnancy
- Evaluate mothers on medication and how they can affect pregnancy
- Guide mothers with chronic conditions on best management options to reduce risks during pregnancy
Preconception counseling also sets the base for genetic counseling. It helps couples make informed decisions about family planning methods and potential genetic risks.
2. Prenatal Care
The prenatal phase is very important for healthy pregnancy and childbirth. Prenatal care includes various efforts designed to improve the mother’s and developing fetus’s health.
Family nurse practitioners play a crucial role in ensuring the mother remains healthy during this phase of pregnancy.
Regular checkup and assessment is the primary responsibility of FNPs. They should monitor blood pressure. Weight, and the baby’s growth rate.
Their assessments also help point out signs of abnormal child growth. After assessment, FNPs should educate expectant mothers on proper exercises, nutritional choices, and self-care during pregnancy.
Interactions during the prenatal period can also be used to educate mothers about birth plans, pain management, and stages of labor.
3. Health Promotion and Education
Family nurse practitioners also improve maternal health through health education and promotion. FNPs engage in various activities that empower pregnant women to make informed decisions, appreciate healthy behaviors, and optimize their well-being during and beyond pregnancy.
FNPs touch on the following three things:
Most mothers don’t know or overlook the importance of a balanced diet. Pregnant mothers should feed well to meet the increasing nutritional demands during pregnancy.
FNPs guide mothers on the importance of eating food with essential nutrients like iron, calcium, and folic acid, foods to avoid, and why they should always hydrate.
Physical activity during pregnancy
Health promotion also involves educating mothers on why they should remain physically fit during pregnancy. Expectant mothers should engage in safe exercise routines to improve cardiovascular health and overall well-being.
Some expectant mothers, unfortunately, engage in lifestyles that put them and the developing fetus in danger. Smoking, drinking alcohol, and other recreational drugs adversely affect fetal development.
Family nurse practitioners are undoubtedly pillars of maternal health. They bring their expertise in preconception counseling, health promotion, prenatal care, and holistic approaches to guide pregnant mothers into safe and healthy deliveries.