Health Promotion and Maintenance

Health Promotion and Maintenance encompasses the delivery of comprehensive care and education throughout an individual’s life to promote overall well-being, prevent illness, and address specific health needs. This nursing practice area covers clients of all ages, including newborns, infants, toddlers, preschoolers, school-age children, adolescents, adults, and older adults. Nurses in this role assess health risks based on family, population, and community factors, as well as the client’s readiness to learn and any potential barriers to learning. They provide education on preventative care, health maintenance recommendations, and strategies to minimize health-related risks and high-risk behaviors. Additionally, they assess clients’ ability to manage their care in their home environment and conduct targeted screening assessments when necessary. This nursing specialty also involves participating in community health education and performing comprehensive health assessments.

1. Provide care and education for the newborn, infant, and toddler client from  birth through 2  years:

 Newborns require immediate assessments and screenings after birth, including Apgar scores and vital signs.

Apgar Score:

The Apgar score is a quick assessment tool used to evaluate a newborn’s physical condition at one and five minutes after birth. It helps to gauge how well the newborn is adapting to the sudden change to life outside the womb

It assesses five key criteria:

  • Appearance (skin color): A score of 0 indicates pale or blue skin, 1 indicates body pink with blue extremities, and 2 indicates completely pink.
  • Pulse rate: A score of 0 indicates no heart rate, 1 indicates a heart rate less than 100 beats per minute, and 2 indicates a heart rate greater than 100 beats per minute.
  • Grimace response (reflex irritability): A score of 0 indicates no response to stimulation, 1 indicates grimacing or weak response, and 2 indicates a vigorous cry or cough.
  • Activity (muscle tone): A score of 0 indicates limp or floppy
  • muscles, 1 indicates some flexion of extremities, and 2 indicates active movement and flexed limbs.
  • Respiration: A score of 0 indicates no breathing, 1 indicates weak or irregular breathing, and 2 indicates strong crying and regular breathing. Each criterion is assigned a score between 0 and 2, and the scores are summed to obtain a total Apgar score ranging from 0 to 10. Apgar scores are used to assess the newborn’s immediate condition and guide any necessary interventions or resuscitation efforts.

Newborn circulation is a sudden change from in-utero circulation and their first few breaths,  or  cry help to stimulate blood to flow to the lungs and the closure of the hole in the heart between the atria (foramen ovale). It is NOT necessary to induce crying through painful stimuli, though some cultures still believe this but it IS important that a patent airway is immediately present and the newborn is taking deep breaths for this change in circulation to occur

Vital Signs for Newborns:

  • Vital signs for newborns include measurements of:
  • Heart Rate: The normal heart rate for a newborn is typically between 120 and 160 beats per minute.
  • Respiratory Rate: Newborns normally breathe at a rate of 30 to 60 breaths per minute.
  • Body Temperature: A newborn’s body temperature should be maintained within a range of 97.7°F to 99.5°F (36.5°C to 37.5°C).
  • Blood Pressure: Blood pressure readings in newborns can vary, and they are typically lower than in adults.

Monitoring these vital signs is crucial for detecting any abnormalities or distress in the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

Apgar ScoreEvaluate the
At 1 and 5
minutes after
Assess five criteria:
Appearance (skin color), Pulse rate, Grimace response (reflex irritability), Activity (muscle tone), Respiration.
Vital SignsMonitor the
and respiratory
after birth and
Includes heart rate, respiratory rate, body temperature, and blood pressure measurements.
Assess overall
physical health
and identify any
after birth
Includes a head-to-toe examination of the newborn's skin, head, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, chest, abdomen, extremities, and genitalia.
and Banding
Ensure accurate
and matching of
the newborn
and mother
after birth
Apply matching identification bands to the newborn and mother, checking for matching information.
Weight and MeasurementsDetermine birth weight and measure length and head circumferenceShortly after birthWeigh the newborn on a calibrated scale, measure length, and record head circumference.
Gestational Age AssessmentEstimate the newborn's gestational age to guide careShortly after birthEvaluate physical characteristics, neuromuscular development, and reflexes to estimate gestational age.
Eye ProphylaxisPrevent neonatal conjunctivitis (ophthalmia neonatorum)Shortly after birthAdminister antibiotic eye ointment or drops to prevent eye infections caused by maternal gonorrhea or chlamydia.
Vitamin K AdministrationPrevent vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB)Shortly after birthAdminister a single intramuscular injection of vitamin K to prevent bleeding disorders.
Hepatitis B Vaccination (if indicated)Prevent hepatitis B virus infectionShortly after birthAdminister the hepatitis B vaccine and hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) if the mother is HBsAg-positive.
Blood Glucose ScreeningEvaluate blood glucose levels in at-risk newbornsShortly after birth if indicatedPerform blood glucose testing in at-risk infants (e.g., preterm, small for gestational age, maternal diabetes).
Hearing ScreeningIdentify hearing impairment in newbornsWithin the first few days after birthConduct hearing tests (e.g., otoacoustic emissions or auditory brainstem response) to screen for hearing loss.
Newborn Metabolic ScreeningDetect metabolic and genetic disorders earlyWithin the first few days after birthCollect a blood sample to screen for a panel of metabolic and genetic conditions, often referred to as the "heel prick" test.
Bilirubin Level AssessmentMonitor bilirubin levels to detect jaundiceWithin the first few days after birthMeasure bilirubin levels using a blood test or a non- invasive method (e.g., transcutaneous bilirubinometry).
Neonatal Reflexes AssessmentEvaluate primitive and neonatal reflexesImmediately after birth and during physical examinationAssess reflexes like the Moro reflex, sucking reflex, rooting reflex, and others to ensure proper neurological development.
Assessment of Respiratory EffortEvaluate the newborn's breathing and respiratory effortImmediately after birth and during initial observationsObserve the newborn's respiratory rate, effort, and signs of distress or apnea.

Infant care includes vaccinations, developmental milestones, and parent education on topics like breastfeeding, safe sleep practices, and introducing solid foods.

Vaccine Schedule

VaccineAge (Months)Recommended DosesNotes
Hepatitis B (HepB)Birth1st DoseAdministered shortly after birth.
1-22nd Dose
6-183rd DoseFinal dose in the series.
Rotavirus (RV)21st DoseMaximum age for 1st dose is 14 weeks.
42nd DoseMaximum age for 2nd dose is 8 months.
Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DTaP)21st Dose
42nd Dose
63rd Dose
15-184th Dose
4-65th Dose
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)21st Dose
42nd Dose
63rd Dose
12-154th Dose
Pneumococcal conjugate (PCV13)21st Dose
42nd Dose
63rd Dose
12-154th Dose
Inactivated Poliovirus (IPV)21st Dose
42nd Dose
6-183rd Dose
Influenza (Flu)†61st DoseAnnual vaccination is recommended.
Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)121st Dose
152nd Dose
Varicella (Chickenpox)121st Dose
Hepatitis A (HepA)121st Dose
182nd Dose
Meningococcal (MenACWY)11-121st Dose

Toddler care involves monitoring growth and development, assessing motor and language skills, and providing guidance on safety as toddlers become more mobile.


2. Provide care and education for the preschool, school-age, and adolescent client ages 3 through 17 years:

  • Preschoolers need regular check-ups, vision and hearing screenings, and vaccinations.
  • School-age children may require annual physical exams for school participation, and healthcare providers play a role in identifying and managing conditions like asthma or allergies.  Adolescents receive education on puberty, sexual health, substance abuse prevention, and mental health awareness.
  • Safety is a key concern in any age group, however it is most important to start.
  • Once children are mobile–this “exploratory” phase in their development can result in many possibilities for safety concerns as they attempt to learn about the world around them without any understanding of consequences of actions or situational awareness.

3. Provide care and education for the adult client ages 18 through 64 years:

Young adults often need preventive care, including screenings for sexually transmitted infections, cancer, and cardiovascular health. Chronic disease management, such as diabetes or hypertension, may become more common in this age group, requiring ongoing monitoring. A feeling of “invincibility” in adolescence can lead to more risky behavior and neglect of health maintenance in this age group from puberty until mid 20s. Again safety from car accidents, fireworks, etc should lead to educational opportunity

4. Provide care and education for the adult client ages 65 and older

Falls, and addressing polypharmacy (multiple medication use). Healthcare providers play a vital role in fall prevention, cognitive health, and coordinating care for complex health needs. Encouraging social engagement and addressing issues like loneliness and isolation become more critical in this population.

5. Provide prenatal care and education:

  • Prenatal care begins early in pregnancy with confirming the pregnancy, tracking fetal development, and addressing any maternal health issues.
  • Education includes guidance on nutrition, exercise, and prenatal vitamins, along with preparing for labor and childbirth.

6. Provide care and education to an antepartum client or a client in labor:

    • Antepartum care involves monitoring the mother’s and baby’s health, managing complications like gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, and ensuring a safe pregnancy.
    • Care during labor includes monitoring contractions, assisting with pain management, and providing emotional support.

7. Provide postpartum care and education:

    • Postpartum care focuses on the physical and emotional recovery of the mother and the well-being of the newborn.
    •  Healthcare providers educate new mothers on breastfeeding techniques, postpartum exercises and recognizing signs of postpartum depression.



  • Occurs in the fallopian tubes within 12 hours of ovulation or 2 to 3 days after insemination.
  • After fertilization, changes in the ovum’s membrane prevent other sperm from entering.
  • Sperm carry either an X or a Y chromosome, determining the baby’s sex (XY for male, XX for female).


  • The zygote moves down the fallopian tube toward the uterus.
  • Implantation in the uterine wall typically happens 6 to 10 days after ovulation.


  • Inner membrane enclosing the amniotic cavity.
  • Appears in the second week of embryonic development.
  • Forms a fluid-filled sac around the embryo and fetus.


  • Outer membrane.
  • Becomes vascularized and contributes to the fetal part of the placenta.

Amniotic Fluid:

  • Volume increases to 800-1200 mL by the end of pregnancy.
  • Surrounds and protects the fetus, allows movement, and maintains temperature.
  • Contains fetal urine, indicating kidney function.
  • Ingested, swallowed, and urinated by the fetus, and it’s breathed into the fetal lungs.


  • Develops by the third month of gestation.
  • Facilitates nutrient and waste exchange between fetus and parent.
  • Produces hormones to maintain pregnancy.
  • Relies on maternal circulation.
  • Selectively permits the passage of nutrients, drugs, antibodies, and viruses.
  • Transfers maternal immunoglobulins to the fetus in the third trimester for passive immunity.
  • Genetic testing may be performed by week 8.

Umbilical Cord:

  • Contains two arteries (deoxygenated blood and waste) and one vein (oxygenated blood and nutrients).

Fetal Heart Rate (FHR):

  • FHR varies with gestational age.
  • Typically 160-170 beats/min in the first trimester, slowing to 110-160 beats/min near or at term.
  • Approximately twice the maternal heart rate.

Fetal Circulation Bypass:

  • Exists due to the nonfunctioning fetal lungs.
  • Must close after birth to allow blood flow through the lungs and liver.
  • Ductus arteriosus bypasses the lungs by connecting the pulmonary artery to the aorta.
  • Ductus venosus bypasses the liver by connecting the umbilical vein to the inferior vena cava.
  • Foramen ovale is an opening between the right and left atria of the heart, bypassing the lungs.
  • The vein carries oxygenated blood and provides oxygen and nutrients to the fetus.

Gestation, or pregnancy, typically lasts approximately 280 days. This duration is often referred to as the “gestational period” and is used as a standard estimate for the length of a full-term pregnancy. However, it’s important to note that the actual duration of pregnancy can vary among individuals and may range from about 266 to 294 days or more, counting from the first day of the last menstrual period (LMP) to the day of delivery. Various factors can influence the length of pregnancy, including individual differences and medical conditions, so healthcare professionals closely monitor the progress of pregnancy to ensure the health and well-being of both the parent and the developing fetus.

Nagele’s rule is a method to estimate the expected date of delivery (EDD) or estimated date of confinement (EDC) based on a regular 28-day menstrual cycle. Here’s how to calculate it:

  • Start with the first day of the last menstrual period (LMP).
  • Add 280 days to this date.

For example, if the first day of the last menstrual period (LMP) was January 1st:

  • Add 280 days: January 1st + 280 days = October 9th

So, the estimated date of delivery (EDD) or estimated date of confinement (EDC) would be October 9th. This is an approximate date, and it assumes a 28-day menstrual cycle. Actual delivery dates can vary and may not always align perfectly with this calculation. It’s important to remember that Nagele’s rule is a rough estimate and should be confirmed by a healthcare professional during prenatal care.

Types of Pelvises:

  • Gynecoid Pelvis:
    • Normal female pelvis.
    • Transversely rounded or blunt.
    • Most favorable for successful labor and birth.
  • Anthropoid Pelvis:
    • Oval in shape.
    • Adequate outlet and a normal or moderately narrow pubic arch.
  • Android Pelvis:
    • Wedge-shaped or angulated.
    • Typically seen in males.
    • Not favorable for labor.
    • Narrow pelvic planes, which can lead to slow descent and mid-pelvis arrest during childbirth.
  • Platypelloid Pelvis:
    • Flat, with an oval inlet.
    • Wide transverse diameter but a short anteroposterior diameter.
    • This shape can make the outlet inadequate for labor and birth.

Terms Related to Pregnancy and Childbirth:


  • Refers to the number of pregnancies, including the current one, a person has had.
  • Gravida is used to describe the pregnant client.


  • Refers to the state of being pregnant.
  • It encompasses all pregnancies, including the current one.


  • Describes a person who has never been pregnant.


  • Describes a person who is pregnant for the first time.


  • Describes a person who is in at least their second pregnancy.


  • Represents the number of births that have been carried past 20 weeks of gestation, regardless of whether the fetuses were born alive or not.
  • Parity does not count the number of fetuses, such as twins, but rather the number of pregnancies that reached 20 weeks or more.


  • Refers to a person who has not had a birth at more than 20 weeks of gestation.


  • Describes a person who has had one birth that occurred after the 20th week of gestation.


  • Refers to a person who has had two or more pregnancies that resulted in viable offspring.


  • An acronym used to document a person’s pregnancy and childbirth history.
  • Stands for Gravida, Term births, Preterm births, Abortions (miscarriages or elective), and Living children. It provides a detailed summary of a person’s reproductive history.

Here’s an example of GTPAL:

G: Gravida (Number of pregnancies)

  • The individual is currently pregnant for the third time.

T: Term births (Number of full-term pregnancies)

  • The individual has had two full-term pregnancies (pregnancies that reached at least 37 weeks’ gestation).

A: Preterm births (Number of pregnancies delivered before 37 weeks)

  • The individual has not had any preterm pregnancies.

L: Abortions (Number of miscarriages or elective abortions)

  • The individual has had one miscarriage in the past.

In summary, G3T2A1L0 means that the person is currently pregnant for the third time, has had two full-term pregnancies, experienced one miscarriage, and has no living children.

Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy – Presumptive:

  • Amenorrhea (absence of menstruation)
  • Nausea and vomiting (morning sickness)
  • Increased breast size and feeling of fullness
  • Enlarged nipples
  • frequent urination
  • Quickening (feeling fetal movements)
  • Fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • Discoloration and thickening of vaginal mucosa
  • Changes in skin pigmentation, like Linea Nigra and Melasma

Probable Signs of Pregnancy:

  • Uterine enlargement (increase in the size of the uterus)
  • Hegar sign (softening and compressibility of the lower part of the uterus)
  • Goodell sign (softening of the cervix)
  • Chadwick sign (bluish discoloration of the cervix and vaginal walls)
  • Ballottement (rebound of the fetus when the cervix is tapped)
  • Positive result on a pregnancy test for human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)

Positive Signs of Pregnancy:

  • Doppler fetal monitor: The use of a Doppler transducer can detect the fetal heart rate.
  • Fetal heart rate detectable: The fetal heart rate can be detected with an electronic device (Doppler transducer) at 10 to 12 weeks and with a nonelectronic device (fetoscope) at 20 weeks of gestation.
  • Active fetal movements palpable by the examiner: The examiner can feel and observe active movements of the fetus.
  • Outline of the fetus on ultrasound: An ultrasound examination can provide a clear visual outline of the fetus.

Fundal Height Measurement during Pregnancy:

  • Fundal height is measured to estimate the gestational age of the fetus.
  • In the second and third trimesters (weeks 18-30), the fundal height in centimeters is roughly equal to the fetus’ age in weeks, with a margin of plus or minus 2 cm.
  • At 16 weeks, the fundus is typically located halfway between the symphysis pubis and the umbilicus.
  • Around 20 to 22 weeks, the fundus can be found at the level of the umbilicus.
  • By 36 weeks, the fundus should be at the xiphoid process, which is the bottom of the sternum.

Cardiovascular System:

  • Increased blood volume (up to 50%)
  • Elevated cardiac output
  • Slight increase in heart rate
  • Lower blood pressure in mid-pregnancy
  • Slight peripheral vasodilation

Respiratory System:

  • Increased oxygen consumption
  • Elevation of the diaphragm
  • Slight increase in respiratory rate
  • Mild respiratory alkalosis (due to increased tidal volume)

Gastrointestinal System:

  • Slowed gastric emptying and intestinal transit
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Increased risk of constipation
  • Relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter (heartburn)
  • Enlarged liver and gallbladder (due to hormonal changes)
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Excessive salivation (Ptyalism)

Renal System:

  • Increased kidney size and blood flow
  • Increased glomerular filtration rate
  • Decreased blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine levels
  • Risk of urinary stasis and urinary tract infections

Endocrine System:

  • Elevated levels of hormones, including human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), progesterone, and estrogen
  • Increased insulin resistance
  • Elevated levels of thyroid hormones (thyroxine and triiodothyronine)

Musculoskeletal System:

  • Softening of ligaments and joints (due to hormone relaxin)
  • Increased lumbar lordosis (swayback)
  • Weight gain and postural changes

Integumentary System:

  • Darkening of areolas and linea alba (Linea Nigra)
  • Development of chloasma (skin pigmentation changes)
  • Stretch marks (striae gravidarum)
  • Increased sweat and oil gland activity

Hematological System:

  • Physiological anemia (dilutional effect due to increased plasma volume)
  • Increased clotting factors to prevent excessive bleeding during childbirth

Immune System:

  • Modulation of the immune response to prevent rejection of the fetus
  • Increased susceptibility to some infections (e.g., urinary tract infections)

Nervous System:

  • Hormonal changes may affect mood and emotions (e.g., mood swings)
  • Compression of nerves due to uterine enlargement may cause back pain and sciatica

Common Discomforts of Pregnancy and Nursing Interventions:

Nausea and Vomiting (Morning Sickness):

    • Interventions:
    • Eat small, frequent meals
    • Avoid spicy and fatty foods.
    • Stay hydrated with clear fluids.
    • Ginger or acupressure bands may help.
    • Eat crackers on awakening
    • Eat protein snack at bedtime
    • Drink water (or other fluids) between meals instead of at meals

Heartburn and Indigestion:

    • Interventions:
    • Eat small, frequent meals.
    • Avoid spicy, greasy, or acidic foods.
    • Sit upright after eating.
    • Antacids may be recommended by a healthcare provider.


    • Interventions:
    • Prioritize rest and sleep.
    • Nap during the day if needed.
    • Delegate tasks and ask for support.

Backache and Joint Pain:

    • Interventions:
    • Maintain proper posture.
    • Use a maternity support belt.
    • Gentle exercises and stretches.
    • Warm baths or cold packs may provide relief.

Leg Cramps:

    • Interventions:
    • Stretch the calf muscles.
    • Massage the affected area.
    • Ensure proper hydration and calcium intake.

Swelling (Edema):

    • Interventions:
    • Elevate legs when possible.
    • Avoid prolonged standing or sitting.
    • Wear support stockings if recommended.


    • Interventions:
    • Increase fiber intake (fruits, vegetables, whole grains).
    • Drink plenty of water.
    • Engage in regular, gentle exercise.
    • Over-the-counter stool softeners may be used under medical guidance.

Frequent Urination:

    • Interventions:
    • Empty the bladder completely when urinating.
    • Limit caffeine and fluid intake before bedtime.
    • Kegel exercises to strengthen pelvic muscles.

Shortness of Breath:

    • Interventions:
    • Maintain good posture.
    • Sleep with extra pillows to elevate the upper body.
    • Practice deep breathing exercises.


– Interventions:

– Increase fiber intake.

– Use over-the-counter topical creams.

– Avoid straining during bowel movements.

– Warm sitz baths may provide relief.

Varicose Veins:

– Interventions:

– Elevate legs whenever possible.

– Wear support stockings.

– Avoid standing for long periods.

Anxiety and Emotional Changes:

– Interventions:

– Seek emotional support from loved ones or a therapist.

– Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation.

– Join prenatal classes to connect with other expectant parents.


  • Typically occurs in the first trimester of pregnancy.
  • May be hormonally triggered or caused by factors like increased blood volume, anemia, fatigue, sudden position changes, or lying supine.

Supine Hypotensive Syndrome:

  • Occurs particularly in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.
  • Caused by the weight of the enlarged uterus putting pressure on the inferior vena cava.
  • Can lead to low blood pressure when lying flat on the back.


  • To prevent syncope:
    • Sit with the feet elevated.
    • Change positions slowly.
  • To prevent supine hypotension:
    • Change the position to the lateral recumbent (right or left side) to relieve the pressure of the uterus on the inferior vena cava when lying down.

Monitoring Fetal Movement – Kick Count:

Kick Count Procedure:

  • The client sits quietly or lies on the left side.
  • Counts fetal kicks for a set period as instructed.

Notification Guidelines:

    • Instruct the client to notify the primary healthcare provider or nurse-midwife if the counts are fewer than 10 kicks in:
    • 2 consecutive 2-hour periods.
    • Or as instructed by the primary healthcare provider or nurse-midwife.

Laboratory Tests in Pregnancy:

Blood Type and Rh Factor:

  • ABO typing to determine blood type.
  • Rh factor typing to determine Rh antigen (positive or negative).
  • Rh-negative clients may require Rh immune globulin at 28 weeks if antibody screening is negative, to prevent hemolytic disease in future pregnancies.

Rubella Titer:

  • Determines immunity to rubella.
  • If titer is less than 1:8 (indicating susceptibility), immunization is recommended post-delivery.
  • Effective contraception is advised after immunization to prevent pregnancy for 3 months.

Hemoglobin and Hematocrit:

  • Levels drop during pregnancy due to increased plasma volume.
  • High hematocrit levels may suggest gestational hypertension.
  • Hemoglobin less than 10 g/dL or hematocrit less than 35% indicates anemia.

Papanicolaou Smear (Pap Smear):

  • Screens for cervical neoplasia.
  • Performed during initial prenatal examination.

Sexually Transmitted Infections:

  • Gonorrhea: Culture during initial and third trimester exams in high-risk clients.
  • Syphilis: Screening during initial and third trimester exams in high-risk clients.
  • Herpes: Culture for active lesions and to determine delivery route.
  • Chlamydia: Culture for high-risk clients and those with a history of STIs.
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigen: Screening for all pregnant clients.

Urinalysis and Urine Culture:

  • Urine specimen for glucose and protein at each prenatal visit.
  • Glycosuria common due to decreased renal threshold.
  • Persistent glycosuria may indicate diabetes.
  • White blood cells suggest infection.
  • Ketonuria may result from inadequate food intake or vomiting.
  • Protein levels (2+ to 4+) may indicate infection or preeclampsia.

Diagnostic Tests in Pregnancy:


  • Used to outline and identify fetal and reproductive structures.
  • Confirms gestational age and estimated date of delivery.
  • Evaluates amniotic fluid volume.
  • Detects premature cervical dilation.
  • No known risks to the client or fetus.

Biophysical Profile:

  • Noninvasive assessment of fetal well-being.
  • Includes fetal breathing, movements, tone, amniotic fluid index, and fetal heart rate patterns.
  • Assesses central nervous system function and fetal oxygenation.

Doppler Blood Flow Analysis:

  • Noninvasive evaluation of fetal and placental blood flow.

Percutaneous Umbilical Blood Sampling:

  • Involves sampling fetal blood from the umbilical vessel under ultrasound guidance.
  • Monitoring of fetal heart rate for one hour post-procedure.
  • Follow-up ultrasound to check for bleeding or hematoma.

α-Fetoprotein (AFP) Screening:

  • Measures fetal serum protein levels.
  • Increased levels associated with neural tube defects, abdominal wall defects, and Down syndrome.
  • Performed at 16-18 weeks gestation.
  • Follow-up ultrasound for elevated levels.

Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS):

  • Aspiration of chorionic villus tissue at 10-13 weeks gestation.
  • Detects genetic abnormalities.
  • Informed consent required.
  • May increase Rh sensitization risk in Rh-negative clients.


  • Aspiration of amniotic fluid between 15-20 weeks.
  • Detects genetic disorders, metabolic defects, and assesses fetal lung maturity.
  • Informed consent required.
  • Bladder status important depending on gestational age.
  • Rh-negative clients may receive RhoGAM.

Fern Test:

  • Determines if amniotic fluid is leaking.
  • Specimen obtained from cervix and vaginal pool.
  • Fernlike pattern indicates amniotic fluid presence.

Nitrazine Test:

  • Detects amniotic fluid in vaginal secretions based on pH.
  • Amniotic fluid has a higher pH (7.0 to 7.5) than vaginal secretions.
  • Positive test turns Nitrazine strip blue.

Non Stress Test (NST):

  • Assess placental function and fetal oxygenation.
  • Evaluates fetal well-being.
  • Monitors FHR response to fetal movement.
  • External ultrasound transducer and tocodynamometer applied.
  • Client may press a button to record fetal movements.
  • Results: Reactive, Nonreactive, or Unsatisfactory.

Reactive NST:

  • Positive result.
  • Indicates a healthy and responsive fetus.
  • Fetal heart rate (FHR) increases appropriately with fetal movement.
  • Generally, at least two or more accelerations of FHR within a 20-minute period.

Nonreactive NST:

  • Concerning result.
  • Suggests potential issues with fetal well-being.
  • FHR does not increase adequately with fetal movement.
  • May require further evaluation or testing.

Unsatisfactory NST:

  • Inconclusive result.
  • Often due to poor fetal movement during the monitoring period.
  • Additional testing or monitoring may be necessary to assess fetal well-being.
  • May also occur if the client’s position or other factors interfere with monitoring.

Contraction Stress Test (CST):


  • Used to assess placental oxygenation and function.
  • Determines the fetus’s ability to tolerate labor and assesses fetal well-being.
  • Involves exposing the fetus to the stress of contractions to evaluate placental perfusion under simulated labor conditions.
  • Performed when there is uncertainty about the fetus’s ability to tolerate labor after a failed nonstress test.


  • External fetal monitor is applied, and a 20- to 30-minute baseline strip is recorded.
    • Uterine contractions are stimulated:
    • Administering a dilute dose of oxytocin.
    • Nipple stimulation by the client until three palpable contractions lasting 40 seconds or more occur within a 10-minute period.
  • Frequent maternal blood pressure readings are taken, and the client is closely monitored during oxytocin administration.

Results of CST:

    • CST results can be classified as:
    • Negative: Reassuring, indicating a healthy fetus.
    • Positive: Concerning, suggesting potential issues with fetal well-being.
    • Equivocal: Inconclusive, requiring further assessment.
    • Unsatisfactory: Inconclusive due to factors such as poor uterine contractions or interference with monitoring.

Nutrition in Pregnancy:

  • Average weight gain during pregnancy: 25 to 35 lb (11 to 16 kg) for clients with normal prepregnancy weight.
  • Additional calorie intake: About 300 calories per day during pregnancy.
  • Greater caloric needs in the last two trimesters.
  • During lactation, an extra 500 calories per day are needed.
  • Emphasize a diet rich in folic acid to prevent neural tube defects in the fetus during the first trimester.
  • Encourage the intake of fresh vegetables.
  • Adequate fluid intake: At least eight to ten 8-oz (235ml) glasses of fluid daily, with four to six of them being water.
  • Sodium restriction is not necessary unless prescribed by the healthcare provider.
  • Consider the client’s preferences and cultural considerations when planning nutritional needs.

Nutritional Considerations:


  • Potential deficiencies in energy, protein, vitamin B12, zinc, iron, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D (if limited exposure to sunlight).

Lactose Intolerance:

  • Clients need to incorporate sources of calcium other than dairy products into their diets regularly.


  • Refers to eating nonfood substances.
  • Cultural values may influence pica, based on beliefs about its effects on the birthing parent or fetus.
  • Iron deficiency may occur in individuals with pica.

Important Recall:

  • An increase of about 300 calories per day is needed during pregnancy.
  • Fertilization occurs in the upper region of the fallopian tubes.
  • The gravid uterus partially occludes the vena cava and descending aorta when the client lies in a supine position, sometimes resulting in supine hypotensive syndrome; this may be prevented or corrected by positioning the client in a lateral position.
  • The contraction stress test is used to evaluate the response of the fetal heart to recurrent short interruptions in placental blood flow and oxygen supply that occur with uterine contractions.
  • During the second and third trimesters (weeks 18-30), fundal height in centimeters approximately equals the fetus’s age in weeks, plus or minus 2 cm.
  • A diet high in folic acid and folic acid supplementation are important.
  • The umbilical cord contains two arteries and one vein.
  • Most substances in maternal blood can be transferred to the fetus.
  • The non-stress test reveals whether the fetal heart rate accelerates when the fetus moves.
  • Positive signs of pregnancy include auscultation of the fetal heart rate, active fetal movements palpable by the examiner, and the outline of the fetus on ultrasound.
  • An increase of about 500 calories per day is needed during lactation.
  • The pregnant client should drink at least eight to ten 8-oz (235ml) glasses of fluid each day, of which four to six glasses should be water.

Education: Labor and Birth Process:

Stages of Labor:

  • Describe the first, second, and third stages of labor, including typical durations and what to expect during each.
  • Emphasize the importance of staying hydrated and practicing relaxation techniques.

Signs of Labor:

  • Educate on signs such as regular contractions, the “bloody show,” and water breaking.
  • Clarify when to contact healthcare providers or go to the hospital.Pain Management Options:
  • Explain natural pain relief methods like breathing exercises, relaxation, and movement.
  • Describe medical pain management options, including epidurals and intravenous pain medications.
  • Discuss the importance of making informed choices based on individual preferences and circumstances.

Birth Plan:

         Personal Preferences:

  • Guide expectant parents in creating a birth plan that outlines their preferences for labor and delivery.
  • Stress the flexibility needed due to unexpected developments.
  • Informed Decision-Making:
  • Explain the significance of informed consent and active participation in healthcare decisions.
  • Discuss the role of healthcare providers in presenting options and risks.


Benefits of Breastfeeding:

  • Enumerate the numerous benefits of breastfeeding, including immune support and bonding.
  • Address common concerns, such as the potential for discomfort or difficulty with latching.

Techniques and Positions:

  • Provide step-by-step instructions for achieving a proper latch and comfortable breastfeeding positions.
  • Explain the importance of skin-to-skin contact and responsive feeding.
  • Breast Pumping and Storage:
  • Introduce breast pumps, how to use them, and how to store expressed breast milk safely.
  • Discuss when to introduce pumped breast milk and bottles to the newborn.

Infant Care:

Newborn Care Basics:

  • Offer detailed guidance on newborn care, including feeding (breast or bottle), diapering (frequency and types of diapers), and swaddling techniques.

Bathing and Dressing:

  • Provide instructions on how to give a sponge bath and, later, a tub bath to a newborn.
  • Explain how to choose clothing appropriate for the baby’s comfort and the season.

Infant Safety:

Safe Sleep Practices:

  • Educate on the importance of placing the baby on their back to sleep in a crib with a firm mattress and no loose bedding.
  • Discuss room-sharing without bed-sharing to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Car Seat Safety:

  • Outline the correct installation of an infant car seat and demonstrate how to secure the baby properly.
  • Emphasize the need for rear-facing seats until the baby reaches the appropriate weight and age.

Coping with Stress:

Managing Stress:

  • Offer strategies for managing stress, such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness techniques, and regular physical activity.
  • Encourage open communication with a partner or support network.

Pregnancy Complications:

Signs and Symptoms:

    • Provide a comprehensive list of potential complications (e.g., preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, placenta previa).
    • Explain how to recognize warning signs such as high blood pressure, severe swelling, or unusual bleeding.
    • Seeking Medical Attention
    • Stress the importance of promptly contacting a healthcare provider if any concerning symptoms or complications arise.

Childbirth Classes:

Available Classes:

  • Detail the different types of childbirth education classes available, including in-person classes, online courses, and hospital-based programs.
  • Provide information on class schedules, duration, and cost.

Benefits of Attendance:

  • Highlight the benefits of attending childbirth education classes, such as increased confidence, improved birth outcomes, and a sense of empowerment.
  • Explain that classes often provide a supportive community and a platform for addressing questions and concerns.

Hospital Tour:

Unit Tour:

  • Arrange for expectant parents to visit the labor and delivery unit, postpartum facilities, and neonatal care units, if applicable.
  • Describe the layout, equipment, and resources available in each area.


  • Emphasize the importance of becoming familiar with the birthing environment.
  • Encourage questions and interaction with hospital staff during the tour.

Preparing for Postpartum:

  • Physical and Emotional Changes:
  • Provide in-depth information on physical changes post-birth, including vaginal and cesarean birth recovery. 
  • Address emotional changes, such as baby blues and postpartum depression.
  • Postpartum Check-Ups: Explain the importance of postpartum check-ups for both the mother and the baby.
  • Discuss the typical schedule for postpartum appointments and what to expect during these visits.
  • Preparing for Parenting: Transition to Parenthood:
  • Explore the emotional and relational aspects of transitioning to parenthood, including changes in roles and responsibilities.
  • Discuss how to maintain a healthy relationship and seek support when needed.
  • Parenting Classes and Support Groups:
  • List available parenting classes, both online and in-person,covering topics like infant care, sleep, and feeding.
  • Provide information on local parenting support groups and resources for building a support network.

Breast Pumping:

  • Breast Pump Options:
  • Detail the types of breast pumps available (manual and electric) and their features.
  • Explain when to consider renting a hospital-grade pump.


  • Expressing Breast Milk:
  • Offer step-by-step instructions for using a breast pump effectively.
  • Discuss milk storage guidelines, including labeling and thawing breast milk.


  • Baby Registry: Creating a Registry:
  • Provide guidance on creating a baby registry, including selecting essential baby items like diapers, clothing, and feeding supplies.
  • Suggest using online registry platforms for convenience and accessibility.


  • Understanding Needs:
  • Help expectant parents understand the practical needs of a newborn, such as a safe sleep environment, feeding supplies, and infant hygiene products.
  • Encourage a balance between essential items and thoughtful,non-material gifts.

Postpartum Contraception:

Contraceptive Options:

  • Discuss various contraceptive options suitable for the postpartum period, including barrier methods, hormonal methods, and long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs). Explain the benefits, risks, and considerations of each option.


Family Planning:

  • Encourage discussions about family planning and contraception with healthcare providers to make informed choices.
  • Provide information on when and how to initiate contraceptive methods after childbirth.


Preparing Siblings: Sibling Preparation:

  • Offer strategies and age-appropriate materials to prepare older siblings for the arrival of a new baby.
  • Discuss addressing common concerns and fostering


Positive Sibling Relationships:

  • Provide guidance on promoting positive sibling relationships, including involving older siblings in caregiving tasks and ensuring one-on-one time with each child.
  • Emphasize the importance of open communication and managing jealousy and rivalry constructively.


Intranatal Education

Key Terms in Obstetrics:


  • Relationship of fetal body parts to one another.
  • Normal intrauterine attitude is flexion, with the fetal back rounded, head forward on the chest, and limbs folded against the body.


  • Relationship of the fetal spine to the birthing parent’s spine.
  • Longitudinal or vertical lie: Fetal spine is parallel to the birthing parent’s spine.
  • Transverse or horizontal lie: Fetal spine is perpendicular to the birthing parent’s spine.


  • Named for the portion of the fetus that enters the pelvis first.
  • Cephalic presentation: Fetal head appears first.
  • Breech presentation: Fetal buttocks or feet present first.
  • Shoulder presentation: Fetus is in a transverse lie, or an arm, back, abdomen, or side may present.


  • Relationship of the presenting part or landmark to the birthing parent’s pelvis.


  • Measurement of the progress of descent in centimeters, relative to the ischial spine.
  • Station 0: At the ischial spine.
  • Minus station: Above the ischial spine.
  • Plus station: Below the ischial spine.


  • Forces acting to expel the fetus during labor.
  • Includes effacement (shortening and thinning of the cervix) and dilation (enlargement of the cervical os and canal) during the first stage of labor.

Findings in Labor 

  • The client may experience a sudden burst of energy.
  • Brownish or blood-tinged cervical mucus (a.k.a. “show”) is passed.
  • Vaginal mucosa becomes congested, and secretion of vaginal mucus increases.
  • Braxton Hicks contractions increase in intensity.
  • “Lightening” or “dropping”: Fetus descends into the pelvis about 2 weeks before delivery in a primipara; the fetus may engage into the pelvis after labor commences in a multipara.
  • The cervix ripens, becoming soft and partly effaced, and may begin to dilate.
  • Spontaneous rupture of membranes occurs.
  • Water loss of 1 to 3 lb (0.5 to 1.4 kg) results from fluid shifts produced by the changes in progesterone and estrogen levels.

Differentiating True Labor from False Labor:

True Labor:

  • Contractions increase in duration and intensity.
  • Cervical dilation and effacement are progressive.
  • The fetus usually becomes engaged in the pelvis and begins to descend.

False Labor:

  • This state does not produce dilation, effacement, or descent.
  • Contractions are irregular and without progression.
  • Walking has no effect on contractions but often relieves false labor.

Leopold maneuvers are a series of four maneuvers used to assess the position, presentation, and engagement of the fetus:

  • The first maneuver helps identify which part of the fetus is in the fundus.
  • The second maneuver reveals the location of the fetal back and the positioning of the arms and legs within the uterus.
  • The third maneuver confirms the fetal position.
  • The fourth maneuver, used mainly in late-stage pregnancy with cephalic presentations, assesses how far the fetus has descended into the pelvic inlet.

Labor Progress:

Discuss the signs of progressing labor, such as cervical dilation and effacement.

Cervical Dilation:

    • Definition: Cervical dilation refers to the opening or widening of the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus. It is measured in centimeters (cm) and indicates how far the cervix has dilated or stretched to allow the baby to pass through the birth canal.
    • Progression: Cervical dilation progresses from 0 cm (closed cervix) to 10 cm (fully dilated cervix). At 10 cm, the cervix is considered fully open, and it’s time for the second stage of labor (pushing and birth).
    • Rate of Progression: The rate at which the cervix dilates can vary greatly among individuals. Some may progress rapidly, while others may dilate more slowly. Typically, during active labor, the cervix dilates at a rate of about 1 cm per hour, but this can vary.

Cervical Effacement:

  • Definition: Cervical effacement, often referred to as “thinning” of the cervix, indicates how much the cervix has thinned out in preparation for labor. It is measured in percentages.
  • Progression: Cervical effacement progresses from 0% (cervix thick and long) to 100% (cervix fully effaced or paper-thin). Complete effacement indicates that the cervix is completely thinned out and prepared for the baby’s descent.
  • Relation to Dilation: Effacement often occurs simultaneously with dilation. As the cervix dilates, it also effaces to allow the baby’s head to descend into the birth canal.
  • Significance: Full effacement is an important milestone as it allows the baby’s head to engage and descend into the pelvis, positioning for birth.
  • Teach how to time contractions and when to contact the healthcare provider.

Steps for Performing the Leopold Maneuvers:

  • Start with the first maneuver: Place your hands on the upper abdomen and gently palpate to determine which part of the fetus is in the fundus.
  • Proceed to the second maneuver: With your hands on the sides of the abdomen, feel for the location of the fetal back and the positioning of the arms and legs.
  • Continue to the third maneuver: Place your hands on the lower abdomen and palpate to confirm the fetal position within the uterus.
  • If needed, perform the fourth maneuver: In late-stage pregnancy with cephalic presentations, place your hands low on the abdomen to assess how far the fetus has descended into the pelvic inlet.

Fetal heart monitoring

  • Electronic Fetal Monitoring (EFM) purpose: Assess fetal oxygenation during labor.
  • Monitor’s role: Detect interruptions, prompt evaluation, and interventions for fetal oxygenation improvement.
  • If interventions fail: Monitor helps make decisions on optimal timing and method of birth to prevent fetal hypoxia consequences.
    • Two EFM modes:
    • External mode: Uses transducers on maternal abdomen to assess Fetal Heart Rate (FHR) and Uterine Activity (UA).
    • Internal mode: Uses a spiral electrode on fetal presenting part for FHR and an intrauterine pressure catheter (IUPC) for UA and uterine resting tone assessment.

Fetal Heart Rate (FHR):

    • Ultrasound transducer:
    • Uses high-frequency sound waves to detect fetal heart activity.
    • Noninvasive and doesn’t require membrane rupture or cervical dilation.
    • Utilized in both antepartum and intrapartum periods.
    • Spiral electrode:
    • Converts fetal ECG to FHR using a cardiotachometer.
    • Requires ruptured membranes and sufficient cervical dilation during intrapartum period.
    • The electrode penetrates fetal presenting part by 1.5 mm and must be securely attached for a good signal.

Uterine Activity:

    • Tocotransducer:
    • Monitors contraction frequency and duration through a pressure-sensing device on the maternal abdomen.
    • Applicable during both antepartum and intrapartum periods.
    • Intrauterine pressure catheter (IUPC):
    • Monitors contraction frequency, duration, and intensity.
    • Two types: fluid-filled system and solid catheter.
    • Both measure intrauterine pressure at the catheter tip and convert it into millimeters of mercury on a uterine activity strip chart.
    • Requires ruptured membranes and sufficient cervical dilation during intrapartum period.

External Monitoring – FHR (Fetal Heart Rate) and UCs (Uterine Contractions):

    • FHR monitoring using ultrasound transducer:
    • Utilizes high-frequency sound waves reflecting off the fetal heart and valves.
    • Continuous and precise FHR recording can be challenging due to potential artifacts from fetal and maternal movement.
    • Factors like maternal obesity, fetal occiput posterior position, and anterior placenta attachment can lead to weak or absent signals. 
  • FHR data is printed on specialized monitor paper.
  • Standard paper speed in the United States is 3 cm/min.
    • To ensure accurate monitoring:
    • Conductive gel is applied to the ultrasound transducer’s surface.
    • The transducer is securely positioned over the area of maximal FHR intensity using an elastic belt.

Baseline Fetal Heart Rate:

  • FHR is controlled by the intrinsic rhythmicity of the fetal heart, the central nervous system (CNS), and the fetal autonomic nervous system.
  • Increased sympathetic response leads to FHR acceleration, while increased parasympathetic response results in FHR slowing.
  • During contractions, there is typically a balanced increase in sympathetic and parasympathetic responses, with no observable change in the baseline FHR.
  • Baseline FHR is the average rate during a 10-minute segment.
  • It excludes periodic or episodic changes, periods of marked variability, and segments with differences exceeding 25 beats/min.
  • Requires at least 2 minutes of interpretable baseline data within a 10-minute tracing segment to determine.
  • After 10 minutes of tracing, the approximate mean rate is rounded to the nearest 5 beats/min interval.
  • Normal FHR range: 110 to 160 beats/min.

FHR Variability:

  • FHR variability is described as irregular waves or fluctuations in the baseline FHR.
  • It is measured in beats per minute and quantified from the peak to the trough of a single cycle.
  • Four categories of FHR variability have been identified: absent, minimal, moderate, and marked.
  • Variability is a characteristic of the baseline FHR and excludes accelerations or decelerations.
  • Absent variability (Fig. 15.7, A) is when fluctuations are not detectable to the naked eye.
  • Minimal variability (Fig. 15.7, B) has detectable fluctuations but is less than 5 beats/min; can be abnormal or indeterminate.
  • Causes of absent or minimal variability include fetal hypoxemia, metabolic acidemia, fetal sleep cycles, tachycardia, prematurity, CNS depressant medications, congenital anomalies, and preexisting neurologic injury.
  • Moderate variability (Fig. 15.7, C) is considered normal and predicts a normal fetal acid-base balance.
  • Moderate variability indicates FHR regulation is not significantly affected by various factors.
  • The significance of marked variability (Fig. 15.7, D) is unclear, often representing a normal variant.
  • A sinusoidal pattern, a smooth undulating wavelike pattern, is not considered part of FHR variability and is associated with severe fetal anemia (Fig. 15.8).
  • Variations of the sinusoidal pattern can occur with chorioamnionitis, fetal sepsis, and opioid analgesic administration.


  • Definition: FHR >160 beats/min lasting >10 minutes.
  • Possible Causes: Early fetal hypoxemia, fetal cardiac arrhythmias, maternal fever, infection (including chorioamnionitis), parasympatholytic drugs (e.g., atropine, hydroxyzine), β-sympathomimetic drugs (terbutaline), maternal hyperthyroidism, fetal anemia, drugs (caffeine, theophylline, cocaine, methamphetamines). Tachycardia can also result from abnormalities in fetal cardiac pacemakers and the cardiac conduction system.
  • Persistent tachycardia in the absence of periodic changes may not appear serious in terms of neonatal outcome, especially if associated with maternal fever. Tachycardia is considered abnormal when associated with late decelerations, severe variable decelerations, or absent variability.
  • Nursing Interventions: Interventions depend on the cause. These may include reducing maternal fever with antipyretics, cooling measures, and oxygen therapy as ordered by the healthcare provider.


  • Definition: FHR <110 beats/min lasting >10 minutes.
  • Possible Causes: Atrioventricular dissociation (heart block), structural defects, viral infections (e.g., cytomegalovirus), medications, fetal heart failure, maternal hypoglycemia, maternal hypothermia.
  • Baseline bradycardia alone is not specifically related to fetal oxygenation. The clinical significance of bradycardia depends on the underlying cause and accompanying FHR patterns, including variability, accelerations, or decelerations.
  • Nursing Interventions: Interventions depend on the cause.

During fetal monitoring, changes in the fetal heart rate (FHR) from the baseline are categorized as either periodic or episodic changes.


  • Definition: Acceleration of the FHR is defined as a visually apparent, abrupt (onset to peak <30 seconds) increase in FHR above the baseline rate, with the peak being at least 15 beats/min above the baseline, lasting 15 seconds or more, and returning to baseline in less than 2 minutes.
  • Clinical Significance: Accelerations are considered an indication of fetal well-being and are highly predictive of a normal fetal acid-base balance.
  • Nursing Interventions: Typically, no interventions are required for accelerations.

Early Decelerations:

  • Definition: Early deceleration is a visually apparent, gradual (onset to lowest point ≥30 seconds) decrease in and return to baseline FHR associated with uterine contractions (UCs). It is thought to be caused by transient fetal head compression and is considered a normal and benign finding.
  • Clinical Significance: Early decelerations are considered normal and are not associated with fetal hypoxemia, acidemia, or low Apgar scores.
  • Nursing Interventions: No specific interventions are required for early decelerations.

Late Decelerations:

  • Definition: Late deceleration is a visually apparent, gradual (onset to lowest point ≥30 seconds) decrease in and return to baseline FHR associated with UCs. The deceleration begins after the contraction has started, and the lowest point of the deceleration occurs after the peak of the contraction.
  • Clinical Significance: Late decelerations are abnormal and associated with fetal hypoxemia, acidemia, and low Apgar scores, especially when associated with absent or minimal baseline variability.
  • Nursing Interventions: Interventions for late decelerations include discontinuing oxytocin if infusing, assisting the woman to a lateral (side-lying) position, administering oxygen at 10 L/min by a nonrebreather face mask, correcting maternal hypotension, and increasing the rate of maintenance intravenous solution. Further interventions may be necessary based on the clinical situation.

Variable Decelerations:

  • Definition: Variable deceleration is defined as a visually abrupt (onset to lowest point <30 seconds) decrease in FHR below the baseline, with the decrease being at least 15 beats/min or more below the baseline, lasting at least 15 seconds, and returning to baseline in less than 2 minutes.
  • Clinical Significance: Occasional variable decelerations have little clinical significance, but recurrent variable decelerations indicate repetitive disruption in the oxygen supply of the fetus and can lead to hypoxemia, hypoxia, metabolic acidosis, and metabolic acidemia.
  • Nursing Interventions: Interventions for variable decelerations include discontinuing oxytocin if infusing, changing maternal position, administering oxygen at 10 L/min by nonrebreather face mask, notifying the physician or nurse-midwife, assessing for cord prolapse, and assisting with amnioinfusion if ordered. Further interventions may be required if the pattern cannot be corrected.

Prolonged Decelerations:

  • Definition: Prolonged deceleration is a visually apparent decrease (may be either gradual or abrupt) in FHR of at least 15 beats/min below the baseline, lasting more than 2 minutes but less than 10 minutes.
  • Clinical Significance: Prolonged decelerations are considered abnormal patterns and require immediate attention and intervention.
  • Nursing Interventions: Nurses should notify the physician or nurse-midwife immediately and initiate appropriate treatment for abnormal patterns when they observe a prolonged deceleration.

Stage 1: Early Labor, Active Labor, and Transition Phase

  • Early Labor:
  • Onset: Early labor marks the beginning of regular contractions, typically with intervals ranging from 5 to 30 minutes.
  • Uterine contractions occur every 15 to 30 minutes, lasting 15 to 30 seconds, and are of mild intensity.
  • The client is talkative and eager for labor to progress.
  • Cervical Changes: The cervix begins to efface (thin out) and dilate (open), usually up to 3-4 centimeters during this stage.
  • Duration: Early labor can last for several hours, and contractions are usually manageable in intensity.
  • Physical and Emotional Response: Women may feel excited, anxious, or relieved as labor begins. They can often continue with regular daily activities during this stage.
  • Education Focus: Teach relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, and the importance of staying hydrated and well-rested.
  • Active Labor:
      • Onset: Active labor begins when the cervix is around 4-6 centimeters dilated.
      • Contractions: Contractions become more intense, lasting around 45-60 seconds, with 3-5 minute intervals.
      • Physical and Emotional Response: Women usually focus more on coping with contractions, and walking or moving around may become more challenging.
      • Education Focus: Continue teaching coping strategies such as rhythmic breathing, position changes, and massage. Discuss pain relief options, including medication if desired.
  • Transition Phase:
    • Onset: Transition begins when the cervix is around 7-10 centimeters dilated.
    • Contractions: Contractions are intense, lasting 60-90 seconds, with intervals of 2-5 minutes.
    • Physical and Emotional Response: Women often experience strong contractions, may feel overwhelmed, and may exhibit signs of discomfort or fatigue.
    • Education Focus: Offer continuous support and encourage relaxation techniques. Reiterate the nearness of the second stage (pushing) and the impending birth of the baby.

Interventions Throughout Stage 1 of Labor:

  • Use a labor curve (Friedman curve) to monitor cervical dilation progress.
  • Keep the client and their partner informed about the progress.
  • Ensure privacy for the client.
  • Provide fluids and ice chips, along with lip ointment for dry lips.
  • Encourage the client to urinate every 1 to 2 hours.
  • Monitor the client’s vital signs.
  • Monitor the fetal heart rate (FHR) using a Doppler ultrasound transducer, fetoscope, or electronic fetal monitor.
  • Assess FHR before, during, and after contractions, keeping in mind the normal FHR range of 110 to 160 beats/min.
  • Evaluate uterine contractions through palpation or monitoring, noting frequency, duration, and intensity.
  • Assess the cervical dilation and effacement status.
  • Determine fetal station, presentation, and position using the Leopold maneuvers.
  • Assist with pelvic examination and prepare for a Nitrazine test and a fern test (used to detect the presence of amniotic fluid and onset of labor) as prescribed.
  • Assess the color of amniotic fluid if the membranes have ruptured, with special attention to meconium-stained fluid, which may indicate fetal distress.

Stage 2: Pushing and Birth

  • Pushing Phase:
  • Onset: Pushing usually begins when the cervix is fully dilated (10 centimeters) and the baby’s head has descended into the birth canal.
    • Contractions: Contractions continue but may space slightly apart during this stage.
    • Physical and Emotional Response: Women are actively engaged in bearing down with contractions, often experiencing a strong urge to push.
    • Education Focus: Instruct on effective pushing techniques, emphasizing the importance of controlled, directed efforts with each contraction. Encourage communication with healthcare providers.
  • Baby’s Birth:
    • Onset: The birth of the baby occurs as the mother pushes effectively and the baby’s head and body pass through the birth canal.
    • Timing: The baby’s head typically emerges first, followed by the shoulders and body.
    • Physical and Emotional Response: Women experience a mix of intense sensations, relief, and joy as they witness the birth of their baby.
    • Education Focus: Reinforce relaxation and controlled pushing techniques. Support and guide the mother as the baby is born.Interventions Throughout Stage 2 of Labor:
      • Perform assessments every 5 minutes.
      • Monitor the client’s vital signs.
      • Continue monitoring the fetal heart rate (FHR) using Doppler ultrasound, a fetoscope, or an electronic fetal monitor.
      • Assess FHR before, during, and after contractions, maintaining awareness of the normal FHR range of 110 to 160 beats/min.
      • Evaluate uterine contractions through palpation or monitor, noting frequency, duration, and intensity.
      • Provide encouragement and praise to the client, allowing for rest between contractions.
      • Keep the client and their partner informed about the progress.
      • Ensure privacy for the client.
      • Offer ice chips and lip ointment for dry lips.
      • Assist the client into a comfortable position that facilitates pushing efforts, such as lithotomy, semisitting, kneeling, side-lying, or squatting.
      • Monitor the client for signs/symptoms of impending birth, such as perineal bulging or the appearance of the fetal head.
      • Prepare for the birth process.
      • After the birth, provide initial care for the newborn.
      • Assess the client for shivering and provide warmth as needed.
      • Facilitate parental-neonatal attachment.

Stage 3: Delivery of the Placenta

Placental Expulsion:

  • Onset: After the baby’s birth, contraction continues, and the placenta detaches from the uterine wall and begins to move downward into the birth canal.
  • Timing: This stage usually occurs within 5-30 minutes after the baby’s birth.
  • Signs of placental separation:
    Firmly contracting fundus
    Change in the uterus from a discoid to a globular shape
    Sudden gush of dark blood from the introitus
    Apparent lengthening of the umbilical cord
    Vaginal fullness on vaginal or rectal examination
    Presence of fetal membranes at the introitus
  • Schultze’s Mechanism: The central part of the placenta separates first, and its shiny fetal surface emerges from the vagina.
  • Duncan’s Mechanism: The edge of the placenta separates, and the dull, red, rough surface emerges from the vagina first.
  • Physical and Emotional Response: Women may experience mild contractions or a sensation of fullness as the placenta separates and descends.
  • Education Focus: Explain the importance of delivering the placenta to prevent postpartum bleeding. Encourage gentle pushing or controlled uterine contractions to expel the placenta.

Stage 3


  • Assess client’s vital signs.
  • Assess uterine status.
  • Provide parents with an explanation regarding delivery of the placenta.
  • Examine placenta for cotyledons (one or more fetal villous trees, containing a fetal artery and a vein and suspended into the cotyledon) and membranes to verify that it is intact (refer to image on right).
  • Assessment: Healthcare providers inspect the placenta to ensure it is complete and intact.
  • Education Focus: Explain the significance of this assessment and reassure the mother about the successful completion of the birthing process.


Pain Management Techniques:

  • Natural Pain Relief:
  • Explore natural pain management techniques like deep breathing, relaxation visualization, and movement.
  • Provide hands-on practice with these techniques.

Medications and Epidurals:

  • Explain the types of pain relief medications available during labor, including opioids and epidurals.
  • Discuss the benefits, risks, and timing of pain medication administration.

Anesthesia for Labor

There are various options for pain relief during labor, including:

  1. Epidural Analgesia:
    • Administered by an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist.
    • Provides continuous pain relief.
    • Delivered through a catheter placed into the epidural space in the spine.
    • Allows the client to remain awake and alert.
    • Can be adjusted as needed for pain control.
    • May cause a decrease in blood pressure, so monitoring is essential.
  2. Spinal Block:
    • Administered as a single injection into the spinal fluid.
    • Provides rapid pain relief.
    • Often used for cesarean sections or during the second stage of labor.
    • Can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure, so careful monitoring is required.
  3. Combined Spinal-Epidural (CSE):
    • Combines the benefits of both epidural and spinal analgesia.
    • Provides rapid pain relief through the spinal injection and continuous relief through the epidural catheter.
    • Offers flexibility in pain management.
  4. Intravenous (IV) Medications:
    • Administered through an IV line.
    • Provides temporary pain relief and may be used in early labor.
    • May cause drowsiness, nausea, or dizziness.
  5. Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas):
    • Self-administered by inhaling a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen through a mask.
    • Provides mild pain relief and relaxation.
    • Allows the client to remain in control.
    • Effects are short-lived and wear off quickly.
  6. Non-Pharmacological Methods:
    • Techniques such as breathing exercises, relaxation, massage, and hydrotherapy (e.g., warm shower or bath) and counterpressure.
    • Used in combination with other pain relief methods.
  7. Local Anesthesia:
    • Used for episiotomies or repair of tears.
    • Injected into the perineal area to numb the area during suturing.

Labor Positions and Mobility:

  • Laboring Positions:
  • Demonstrate various laboring positions, including standing, sitting, squatting, and hands-and-knees.
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each position.


  • Mobility During Labor:
  • Explain the importance of movement and changing positions during labor to help with pain management and progression.
  • Encourage partners or support persons to assist with position changes and comfort measures.


Medical Interventions and Monitoring:

  • Bishop Score
    • The Bishop Score assesses cervical readiness for labor induction, considering five factors, each assigned a score of 0 to 3.
    • A total score of 8 or higher indicates a favorable cervix for induction.


    • Induction involves intentionally initiating uterine contractions to stimulate labor.
    • Elective induction can be achieved using oxytocin infusion.
    • Monitor uterine contractions, fetal heart rate (FHR), blood pressure, and pulse closely.
    • Do not increase oxytocin infusion rate once the desired contraction pattern is achieved.
    • Discontinue oxytocin if contractions become too frequent, too long, or if fetal distress occurs.


    • Artificial rupture of membranes (AROM) is performed to stimulate labor when the fetus is at zero or + station.
    • AROM increases the risk of cord prolapse and infection.
    • Monitor FHR before and after AROM and document characteristics of amniotic fluid.
    • Different fluid colors may indicate various conditions.
    • Expect variable decelerations after AROM due to cord compression during contractions.
    • Limit client activity as prescribed.

    External Version

    • External manipulation of the fetus is used to correct abnormal fetal positions.
    • It’s typically done after the 34th week of pregnancy.
    • Monitor vital signs and fetal well-being.
    • Administer IV fluids and tocolytic therapy to relax the uterus.
    • Use ultrasound for guidance during the procedure.
    • Monitor for complications like vena cava compression and unusual pain.
    • Conduct non-stress tests after the procedure.


    • An episiotomy is an incision made in the perineum to facilitate delivery.
    • After the procedure, check and care for the episiotomy site.
    • Provide pain relief measures such as ice packs and analgesic spray.
    • Instruct the client in perineal care, proper hygiene, and drying techniques.
    • Advise using sitz baths, showering instead of bathing, and reporting any bleeding or discharge to the healthcare provider.

Forceps Delivery

  • Forceps are spoon-like blades used to assist in delivering the fetal head.
  • Reassure and explain the need for forceps to the client.
  • Monitor both the client and fetus during delivery.
  • After delivery, check the neonate and client for any injuries.
  • Assist in repairing any lacerations as necessary.

Vacuum Extraction

  • A vacuum extraction involves the use of a cap-like device on the fetal head to facilitate extraction through suction.
  • Apply traction during uterine contractions until the fetal head descends.
  • If external fetal monitoring is not used, assess the fetal heart rate every 5 minutes.
  • After birth, assess the newborn for any signs or symptoms of cerebral trauma.
  • Monitor the neonate for the development of cephalohematoma.
  • Note that caput succedaneum (edema of the soft tissue over the bone) is normal and typically resolves within 24 hours.

Cesarean Delivery

  • Cesarean delivery involves delivering the fetus through the uterine wall, often through a low-segment transabdominal incision of the uterus.
  • Before the surgery, conduct general preoperative assessments and interventions.
  • If the surgery was planned, prepare the client and their partner for the procedure.
  • In emergency cases, provide a quick explanation of the procedure and the reasons behind it to the client and their partner.
  • Ensure that preoperative diagnostic tests, including Rh factor, are completed.
  • After the surgery, perform general postoperative assessments and interventions.
  • Watch for signs such as burning and pain during urination, which may indicate a bladder infection.
  • Check for a tender uterus and foul-smelling lochia, as these could be signs of endometritis.
  • Monitor for symptoms like a productive cough or chills, which may suggest pneumonia.
  • Keep an eye out for pain, redness, or swelling in an extremity, which could be a sign of thrombophlebitis.

Supportive Care and Advocacy:

  • Role of Birth Partners:
  • Define the role of birth partners (spouse, family member, doula) in providing physical and emotional support.
  • Teach comfort measures, such as massage, counterpressure, and verbal encouragement.


  • Advocacy:
  • Educate expectant parents on their rights and options during labor.
  • Discuss how to effectively communicate with healthcare providers and express birth preferences.


Coping with Unexpected Situations:

Complications and Emergencies:

  • Describe potential complications during labor, such as fetal distress, shoulder dystocia, or cord prolapse.
  • Explain how these situations are managed and when emergency interventions are necessary.

Shoulder Dystocia Assessment:

  1. Difficulty delivering the fetal shoulders after the head is delivered.
  2. Slowed or halted progress of the baby’s birth.
  3. Increased risk in cases of gestational diabetes, macrosomia (large baby), or previous shoulder dystocia.
  4. Signs of fetal distress may occur.

Shoulder Dystocia Nursing Interventions:

  1. Call for immediate assistance, including experienced personnel and a neonatal resuscitation team.
  2. Perform the McRoberts maneuver, where the birthing parent’s legs are sharply flexed against the abdomen to rotate the baby’s shoulders.
  3. Attempt the suprapubic pressure maneuver, applying pressure above the pubic bone to dislodge the baby’s anterior shoulder.
  4. Consider the Gaskin maneuver, where the birthing parent changes position to hands and knees to encourage the baby’s shoulders to rotate.
  5. Prepare for an episiotomy if necessary to facilitate the baby’s birth.
  6. Be ready for neonatal resuscitation if needed.

Cord Prolapse Assessment:

  1. Umbilical cord slips down through the cervix ahead of the baby.
  2. Prolapsed cord may be felt during a vaginal examination or seen during a visual assessment.
  3. Risk factors include premature rupture of membranes, high presenting part of the baby, or multiple pregnancies.
  4. Cord compression may result in fetal distress.

Cord Prolapse Nursing Interventions:

  1. Call for immediate assistance, including experienced personnel and a neonatal resuscitation team.
  2. Elevate the presenting part of the baby off the cord using manual maneuvers.
  3. Reposition the birthing parent, such as moving them into a knee-chest or Trendelenburg position, to alleviate pressure on the cord.
  4. Administer oxygen to the birthing parent to increase oxygen supply to the fetus.
  5. Prepare for an emergency cesarean section if the baby cannot be delivered vaginally.
  6. Continuously monitor the fetal heart rate and be prepared for neonatal resuscitation if necessary.

Uterine Tachysystole, or excessive uterine contractions: is a condition where the uterus contracts too frequently, with little to no rest in between contractions. This can be concerning during labor, as it can lead to decreased oxygen supply to the fetus and maternal exhaustion. Here are some assessments and nursing interventions for uterine tachysystole:


  1. Monitor uterine contractions closely, noting their frequency, duration, and intensity.
  2. Assess the fetal heart rate (FHR) continuously to detect signs of fetal distress, such as late decelerations.
  3. Evaluate the birthing parent’s vital signs, especially blood pressure and heart rate.
  4. Assess the progress of labor, including cervical dilation and effacement.
  5. Inquire about the birthing parent’s pain level and overall well-being.

Nursing Interventions:

  1. Notify the primary healthcare provider or midwife immediately if uterine tachysystole is detected.
  2. Encourage the birthing parent to change positions frequently, as some positions may alleviate excessive contractions.
  3. Administer oxygen to the birthing parent to improve oxygen supply to the fetus.
  4. Administer intravenous (IV) fluids to maintain hydration and potentially reduce uterine irritability.
  5. Discontinue or reduce the use of oxytocin (Pitocin) if it is being used to induce or augment labor.
  6. If contractions persist despite interventions, consider administering a tocolytic medication like terbutaline to reduce uterine activity temporarily.
  7. Continuously monitor the FHR for signs of fetal distress, and be prepared for potential interventions, such as cesarean delivery if fetal well-being is compromised.

Breathing Techniques: Lamaze Breathing:

  • Introduce Lamaze-style breathing techniques for coping with contractions.
  • Practice rhythmic breathing patterns during contractions. Patterned Breathing:
  • Teach various patterned breathing techniques (slow, paced breathing) to reduce anxiety and manage pain.
  • Emphasize the importance of relaxation between contractions.

Perineal Care and Episiotomy: Perineal Massage:

  • Explain perineal massage techniques to potentially reduce the
  • risk of perineal tears during birth.
  • Provide demonstrations and practice opportunities.

Important Recall:

  • Contractions in true labor increase in duration and intensity.
  • Assess the color of amniotic fluid when the membranes rupture, as meconium-stained fluid may indicate fetal distress.
  • Fetal bradycardia or tachycardia requires changing the birthing parent’s position, administering oxygen, and assessing vital signs; notify the primary health care provider promptly.
  • Decreased variability can result from fetal hypoxemia, acidosis, or medication use.
  • Prioritize improving placental blood flow and fetal oxygenation for interventions in cases of late decelerations.
  • In normal labor, cervical dilation and effacement, along with fetal descent, should consistently progress.
  • Monitor lochia discharge in stage 4; it may be moderate and red in color.
  • General anesthesia poses risks of respiratory depression, vomiting, and aspiration.
  • Discontinue oxytocin infusion if contractions are less than 2 minutes apart, last longer than 90 seconds, or if fetal distress is observed.

    Postnatal Education:

    • Postpartum Care: Postnatal education extends into the postpartum or postnatal period, which encompasses the weeks and months following childbirth. During this time, healthcare providers continue to monitor the physical and emotional recovery of the mother and the health of the newborn.
    • Postpartum Recovery: Expectant parents receive guidance on postpartum recovery, including physical changes, postpartum exercise, and pelvic floor health. They also learn about common postpartum discomforts and when to seek medical advice.
    • Newborn Care: Postnatal education includes essential information on newborn care, such as breastfeeding support, infant feeding schedules, diapering, and recognizing signs of illness or developmental milestones.
    • Emotional Well-being: Recognizing and addressing postpartum mood disorders, such as postpartum depression or anxiety, is a vital aspect of postnatal education. Support and resources for mental health are provided.
    • Family Planning: Postnatal education often includes discussions about family planning and contraception options for those who wish to prevent or delay future pregnancies.


    Baby’s First Moments: Immediate Postpartum Care:

  • Describe what happens in the immediate moments after birth, including skin-to-skin contact, cord clamping, and initial assessments.
  • Emphasize the importance of bonding and breastfeeding in the first hour of life.

Breastfeeding and chestfeeding are essential components of infant care, and providing guidance and support to birthing parents can greatly enhance the breastfeeding/chestfeeding experience. Here are key points related to breastfeeding/chestfeeding:

  1. Instruction: Educate the client on the proper breastfeeding/chestfeeding procedure. Encourage skin-to-skin contact as soon as both the birthing parent and baby are stable, preferably on the delivery table.
  2. LATCH Assessment: Assess the LATCH technique, which stands for Latch achieved by the newborn, Audible swallowing, Type of nipple (correct placement in baby’s mouth), Comfort of the parent, and Hold or position of the baby. Ensure that both the parent and baby are comfortable and effectively latched.
  3. Support: Stay with the client during breastfeeding/chestfeeding until they feel secure and confident with the process. Offer guidance and assistance as needed.
  4. Uterine Cramping: Explain that uterine cramping may occur during the first day after delivery, especially while nursing. This is a natural response to oxytocin stimulation, which helps the uterus contract and return to its pre-pregnancy size.
  5. Breast Hygiene: Advise general hygiene for the breasts, including washing them once daily. However, using soap on the breasts is not recommended as it can remove natural oils and increase the risk of cracked nipples.
  6. Engorgement: If engorgement occurs, suggest frequent breastfeeding/chestfeeding, warm packs before feeding, ice packs after feedings, and gentle breast massage.
  7. Cracked Nipples: In the case of cracked nipples, recommend exposing them to air for 10 to 20 minutes after feeding, changing the baby’s feeding position, and ensuring that the baby is properly latched onto the areola.
  8. Supportive Bra: Advise the use of a well-fitted and supportive bra. Breasts may leak between feedings or during intercourse, so using breast pads in the bra can help.
  9. Medications: Stress the importance of avoiding medications unless prescribed by a healthcare provider, as some medications can interfere with breastfeeding/chestfeeding.
  10. Diet: Recommend avoiding gas-producing foods and caffeine, as they can affect the baby’s digestion. Encourage a balanced diet for the birthing parent.
  11. Contraception: Discuss contraceptive options with the client. Hormonal contraceptives, especially those containing estrogen, can impact milk supply. Progestin-only birth control pills are often a better choice for breastfeeding/chestfeeding parents.
  12. Feeding Schedule: Inform the client that babies will develop their own feeding schedule. It’s essential to be responsive to the baby’s cues and feed on demand


Positioning and Attachment:

  • Demonstrated the breastfeeding positions (e.g., cross- cradle, football hold) and attachment techniques.

Cross Cradle hold

  • Description: In the cross-cradle hold, the baby is held with their head in one hand and their body in the other. The hand supporting the baby’s head and neck is the opposite hand from the breast being offered.
  • How to Do It:
      • Sit in a comfortable chair with good back support.
      • Use a pillow or cushion to support your arm and bring the baby up to the breast.
      • Place your non-nursing hand (opposite the breast) under the baby’s head and neck, supporting them.
      • Use your thumb and fingers to guide the baby’s mouth to the breast.
      • Ensure that the baby’s nose is aligned with your nipple, allowing them to latch on.
      • Use your other hand to support your breast if needed.
  • Advantages:
    • Provides good control over the baby’s head and neck for a secure latch.
    • Allows the mother to guide the baby’s mouth to the breast.
    • Particularly helpful for babies with latch or positioning difficulties.


  • Football Hold:
    • Description: In the football hold, the baby is positioned at the mother’s side, tucked under the arm like a football. This position is often used when mothers have had a cesarean section or when they have large breasts.
  • How to Do It:
      • Sit in a chair with good back support.
      • Use a pillow or cushion to support your arm.
      • Position the baby at your side, facing you, with their legs tucked under your arm.
      • Support the baby’s head and neck with your hand and guide them to latch onto the breast.
      • Use your other hand to support your breast if needed.
  • Advantages:
    • Suitable for mothers who may have discomfort around the abdominal area after a cesarean section.
    • Provides a clear view of the baby’s latch and allows for better control of positioning.


  • Cross-Cradle Hold:
    • Description: In the cross-cradle hold, the baby is held with their head in one hand and their body in the other. The hand supporting the baby’s head and neck is the opposite hand from the breast being offered.
  • How to Do It:
      • Sit in a comfortable chair with good back support.
      • Use a pillow or cushion to support your arm and bring the baby up to the breast.
      • Place your non-nursing hand (opposite the breast) under the baby’s head and neck, supporting them.
      • Use your thumb and fingers to guide the baby’s mouth to the breast.
      • Ensure that the baby’s nose is aligned with your nipple, allowing them to latch on.
      • Use your other hand to support your breast if needed.
  • Advantages:
    • Provides good control over the baby’s head and neck for a secure latch.
    • Allows the mother to guide the baby’s mouth to the breast.
    • Particularly helpful for babies with latch or positioning difficulties.


  • Football Hold:
    • Description: In the football hold, the baby is positioned at the mother’s side, tucked under the arm like a football. This position is often used when mothers have had a cesarean section or when they have large breasts.
  • How to Do It:
      • Sit in a chair with good back support.
      • Use a pillow or cushion to support your arm.
      • Position the baby at your side, facing you, with their legs tucked under your arm.
      • Support the baby’s head and neck with your hand and guide them to latch onto the breast.
      • Use your other hand to support your breast if needed.
  • Advantages:
    • Suitable for mothers who may have discomfort around the abdominal area after a cesarean section.
    • Provides a clear view of the baby’s latch and allows for better control of positioning.
    • Discuss common breastfeeding challenges and solutions
VaccineAge (Months)Recommended DosesNotes
Hepatitis B (HepB)Birth1st DoseAdministered shortly after birth.
1-22nd Dose
6-183rd DoseFinal dose in the series.
Rotavirus (RV)21st DoseMaximum age for 1st dose is 14 weeks.
42nd DoseMaximum age for 2nd dose is 8 months.
Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DTaP)21st Dose
42nd Dose
63rd Dose
15-184th Dose
4-65th Dose
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)21st Dose
42nd Dose
63rd Dose
12-154th Dose
Pneumococcal conjugate (PCV13)21st Dose
42nd Dose
63rd Dose
12-154th Dose
Inactivated Poliovirus (IPV)21st Dose
42nd Dose
6-183rd Dose
Influenza (Flu)†61st DoseAnnual vaccination is recommended.
Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)121st Dose
152nd Dose
Varicella (Chickenpox)121st Dose
Hepatitis A (HepA)121st Dose
182nd Dose
Meningococcal (MenACWY)11-121st Dose

Newborn Care During the Golden Hour:

Immediate Skin-to-Skin Contact:

  • Purpose: One of the most crucial aspects of the Golden Hour is immediate skin-to-skin contact between the newborn and the mother (or the parent, if the mother is unavailable).


  • Helps regulate the baby’s body temperature, keeping them warm.
  • Facilitates bonding between the baby and the parent.
  • Stimulates early breastfeeding by triggering the baby’s rooting reflex.
  • Procedure: The baby is placed naked, except for a diaper or a small blanket, directly on the parent’s bare chest, with their head positioned near the breast.


Delayed Cord Clamping:

  • Purpose: Delayed cord clamping involves waiting for a minute or more before clamping and cutting the umbilical cord.


  • Allows more blood to transfer from the placenta to the baby, increasing the baby’s iron stores.
  • Can reduce the risk of anemia in the newborn.
  • Procedure: The healthcare provider typically waits for the cord to stop pulsating before clamping and cutting it.


Initial Assessments:

  • Purpose: Healthcare providers perform initial assessments of the newborn’s overall condition and vital signs.


  • Apgar score assessment (usually at 1 and 5 minutes after birth) to evaluate the baby’s appearance, pulse, grimace response, activity, and respiration.
  • Measurement of the baby’s weight, length, and head circumference.
  • Examination for any visible congenital anomalies or concerns.

Eye Prophylaxis:

  • Purpose: To prevent eye infections, healthcare providers may apply antibiotic ointment or drops to the baby’s eyes.
  • Procedure: A small amount of the medication is applied to each eye to protect against potential bacterial infections that could occur during passage through the birth canal.

Vitamin K Administration:

  • Purpose: To prevent bleeding disorders, newborns are often given a vitamin K injection.
  • Benefits: Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting and helps prevent a rare but serious condition called vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB).
  • Procedure: A healthcare provider administers the vitamin K injection, typically in the baby’s thigh.

Breastfeeding Initiation:

  • Purpose: The Golden Hour is an ideal time to initiate breastfeeding.
  • Benefits: Helps establish breastfeeding early, which is associated with improved breastfeeding success. The baby is typically alert and eager to latch during this time.
  • Procedure: With the baby on the parent’s chest in skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding can be initiated when the baby shows signs of readiness, such as rooting or mouthing.

Family Bonding and Support:

  • Purpose: The Golden Hour also provides an opportunity for the family, including the partner and other children, to bond with the newborn.
  • Benefits: Promotes emotional bonding and attachment. Creates a positive and supportive atmosphere for the baby’s arrival.

Discussion of Birth Events:

  • Purpose: Healthcare providers may discuss the birth events and any immediate concerns or complications with the parents.
  • Benefits: This communication helps ensure that the parents are informed and reassured about the baby’s condition and any necessary interventions.

Postpartum, or the post-birth period, involves a series of physiological changes that occur in the birthing parent’s body as it returns to its pre-pregnancy state. These changes are vital for the recovery and healing process after childbirth. Here are some key physiological changes that occur postpartum:

  1. Uterine Involution:
    • After giving birth, the uterus begins to contract and shrink to its pre-pregnancy size and position.
    • Contractions of the uterine muscles help expel the placenta and reduce postpartum bleeding.
    • The fundus (the top portion of the uterus) gradually descends over several weeks, moving from the level of the umbilicus to its normal position below the pubic bone.
  2. Lochia:
    • Lochia is the vaginal discharge that contains blood, mucus, and uterine tissue.
    • Lochia is initially bright red and can be heavy, resembling a heavy menstrual period.
    • Over the next few days, it transitions to a pink or brownish color and then to a yellow-white discharge.
    • Lochia typically continues for about 4 to 6 weeks postpartum.
  3. Vaginal and Perineal Changes:
    • Swelling, bruising, and discomfort in the vaginal and perineal area may occur, especially after vaginal delivery.
    • Tears or episiotomies (surgical incisions to widen the vaginal opening) may require stitches.
    • These tissues gradually heal over several weeks.
  4. Breast Changes:
    • Breast engorgement, fullness, and tenderness occur as the breasts prepare for milk production.
    • Colostrum, a nutrient-rich early milk, is produced in the first few days, followed by transitional milk and mature milk.
    • The nipples may become more sensitive during breastfeeding.
  5. Cardiovascular Changes:
    • Blood volume gradually returns to pre-pregnancy levels.
    • Heart rate and cardiac output decrease.
    • Blood pressure typically returns to pre-pregnancy levels.
  6. Gastrointestinal Changes:
    • Digestive processes may take some time to return to normal after childbirth.
    • Constipation can be a common issue due to changes in bowel habits.
  7. Urinary Changes:
    • Diuresis (increased urine production) occurs as the body eliminates excess fluid retained during pregnancy.
    • Urinary frequency and urgency may temporarily increase.
  8. Hormonal Changes:
    • Hormone levels, including estrogen and progesterone, gradually return to their non-pregnant state.
    • Prolactin levels remain elevated for breastfeeding.
  9. Musculoskeletal Changes:
    • The abdominal muscles may take time to regain tone and strength after pregnancy.
    • Joints and ligaments return to their pre-pregnancy state.
  10. Immune System:
    • The immune system, which was somewhat suppressed during pregnancy, gradually returns to normal function.
  11. Emotional and Psychological Changes:
    • Postpartum emotional and psychological changes, often referred to as the “baby blues,” can occur and are characterized by mood swings, irritability, and emotional sensitivity.
    • For some individuals, postpartum depression or anxiety may require professional support and treatment.
  • Temperature: It’s common for the temperature to increase up to 100.4°F (38°C) within the first 24 hours after delivery due to dehydration. Encourage fluid intake. Notify the healthcare provider if the temperature rises higher, as it may indicate infection.
  • Heart Rate (Pulse): Bradycardia (a heart rate of 50 to 70 beats per minute) is common during the first week postpartum. A pulse rate greater than 100 beats per minute could be indicative of blood loss or infection.
  • Blood Pressure: Typically, blood pressure remains relatively unchanged during the postpartum period. A drop in blood pressure may raise concerns about bleeding or hypovolemia (low blood volume).
  • Respiratory Rate: Respirations usually remain stable. A significant increase in respiratory rate could be a sign of conditions like pulmonary embolism, uterine atony (lack of uterine muscle tone), or bleeding.

Postpartum Nursing Interventions:

  • Monitor Vital Signs: Continuously monitor the birthing parent’s vital signs, including temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, to detect any abnormalities or signs of infection.
  • Assess Pain Level: Evaluate the birthing parent’s pain level and provide appropriate pain management as needed to ensure their comfort.
  • Fundal Assessment: Assess the height, consistency, and location of the uterine fundus to monitor uterine involution (return to pre-pregnancy size and position).
  • Lochia Monitoring: Observe and document the color, amount, and odor of lochia (postpartum vaginal discharge) to detect any signs of infection or excessive bleeding.
  • Breast Assessment: Assess the breasts for engorgement and provide guidance on breastfeeding techniques and breast care.
  • Perineal and Episiotomy Care: Monitor the perineum for swelling or discoloration, especially if there was an episiotomy or perineal tear. Ensure proper healing and provide comfort measures.
  • Cesarean Incision Care: If the birthing parent had a cesarean delivery, assess the incision site and dressings for any signs of infection or complications.
  • Bowel Status: Monitor bowel function and assess for signs of constipation or other gastrointestinal issues.
  • Fluid Balance: Monitor intake and output to ensure adequate hydration. Encourage frequent voiding to prevent urinary retention.
  • Encourage Ambulation: Encourage the birthing parent to ambulate and move around to prevent complications like blood clots.
  • Thrombophlebitis Assessment: Assess the extremities for signs of thrombophlebitis, such as redness, tenderness, or warmth in the leg, and report any findings.
  • Rho(D) Immune Globulin: Administer Rho(D) immune globulin (RhoGAM) as prescribed within 72 hours of delivery to Rh factor-negative clients who have given birth to Rh-positive newborns to prevent sensitization.
  • Rubella Immunity: Evaluate the birthing parent’s rubella immunity status and provide vaccination if indicated.
  • Bonding and Emotional Assessment: Assess the bonding between the birthing parent and newborn. Monitor the birthing parent’s emotional status and provide support for any emotional or psychological concerns.

Postpartum Discomforts: 

  1. Perineal Pain and Swelling:
    • Intervention: Apply ice packs to the perineal area to reduce swelling during the first 24 hours. Afterward, use warm sitz baths for comfort.
    • Pain Medication: Administer prescribed pain medications to manage perineal discomfort.
  2. Uterine Contractions (Afterpains):
    • Intervention: Encourage the birthing parent to use relaxation techniques and breathing exercises to manage uterine contractions. Over-the-counter pain relievers may also be recommended.
  3. Breast Engorgement:
    • Intervention: Advise the birthing parent to use warm compresses before breastfeeding to encourage milk flow. Cold compresses can help reduce swelling and discomfort between feedings. Ensure proper latch and breastfeeding technique to prevent engorgement.
  4. Hemorrhoids:
    • Intervention: Suggest the use of over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams or suppositories as directed by a healthcare provider. Promote proper hygiene and recommend warm sitz baths.
  5. Vaginal Discharge (Lochia):
    • Intervention: Educate the birthing parent about the expected progression of lochia from bright red to pink and then to a yellowish-white color. Ensure they use sanitary pads for hygiene.
  6. Urinary Discomfort:
    • Intervention: Encourage frequent urination to prevent urinary retention. Provide peri-bottle for cleansing after urination. Teach proper perineal hygiene from front to back.
  7. Constipation:
    • Intervention: Recommend a high-fiber diet and plenty of fluids. Stool softeners or mild laxatives may be prescribed if necessary.
  8. Episiotomy or Incision Pain (Cesarean Section Incision):
    • Intervention: Administer prescribed pain medications as directed. Keep the incision clean and dry. Provide wound care instructions.
  9. Backache and Muscle Pain:
    • Intervention: Suggest warm baths, gentle stretching exercises, and back massages for relief. Promote good posture and body mechanics during caregiving tasks.
  10. Fatigue and Sleep Deprivation:
    • Intervention: Encourage the birthing parent to rest when the baby sleeps, and consider help from family or friends for household tasks. Promote healthy sleep habits.
  11. Breast Pain and Nipple Soreness:
    • Intervention: Ensure proper positioning and latch during breastfeeding. Offer guidance on nipple care and the use of nipple creams or shields.
  12. Mood Swings and Emotional Changes:
    • Intervention: Provide emotional support, counseling, and information on postpartum mood disorders. Encourage open communication and seek professional help if needed.
    • Postpartum Blues:
      • Onset: Typically begins a few days after childbirth and may last up to two weeks.
      • Symptoms:
        • Mood swings
        • Tearfulness
        • Anxiety
        • Irritability
        • Fatigue
      • Cause: Hormonal fluctuations, sleep deprivation, and the emotional adjustment to motherhood.
      • Intervention: Supportive care, rest, emotional support, and reassurance. Symptoms usually resolve on their own.
    • Postpartum Depression (PPD):
      • Onset: May begin within a few weeks to a year after childbirth.
      • Symptoms:
        • Prolonged sadness
        • Loss of interest or pleasure
        • Fatigue
        • Changes in appetite and sleep patterns
        • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
        • Difficulty concentrating
        • Thoughts of self-harm or harm to the baby (in severe cases)
      • Cause: Complex, including hormonal changes, psychological factors, and stress.
      • Intervention: Psychotherapy, medication (antidepressants), support groups, and lifestyle adjustments. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are crucial.
    • Postpartum Psychosis:
      • Onset: Typically within the first two weeks after childbirth.
      • Symptoms:
        • Delusions
        • Hallucinations
        • Extreme agitation
        • Paranoia
        • Rapid mood swings
        • Impaired judgment and insight
        • Severe confusion
      • Cause: Less understood but may involve a combination of genetic, hormonal, and psychological factors.
      • Intervention: Requires immediate medical attention and often hospitalization. Treatment includes antipsychotic medications and psychotherapy.
  13. Cesarean Section Recovery:
    • Intervention: Educate the birthing parent on incision care, activity restrictions, and pain management following a cesarean section.Nutritional counseling during pregnancy and postpartum is essential to support the health of both the parent and the baby. Here are some key points:
      1. Individualized Nutritional Needs: A client’s nutritional needs should be tailored to their pre-pregnancy weight, height, and specific circumstances. Factors like age, activity level, and any underlying medical conditions should also be considered.
      2. Breastfeeding/ Chestfeeding: If the client is breastfeeding or chestfeeding, their calorie requirements typically increase by about 200 to 500 calories per day. However, these numbers may vary, so the primary healthcare provider must provide specific guidance.
      3. Hydration: Staying adequately hydrated is essential during pregnancy and postpartum. Clients should be encouraged to drink plenty of fluids, with a focus on water. Adequate hydration is vital for milk production in breastfeeding/chestfeeding parents.
      4. Continuation of Supplements: Depending on the individual’s dietary intake, the healthcare provider may recommend continuing prenatal vitamins and minerals even after childbirth. These supplements help ensure that both the parent and the baby receive essential nutrients.
      5. Balanced Diet: A well-balanced diet is essential for meeting nutritional needs during pregnancy and postpartum. This includes a variety of foods from all food groups, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and dairy or dairy alternatives. Nutrient-dense foods should be prioritized.
      6. Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight during pregnancy and postpartum is crucial. Excessive weight gain during pregnancy can lead to various health issues. Nutritional counseling can help clients manage their weight effectively.
      7. Consultation with a Dietitian: In some cases, it may be beneficial for clients to consult with a registered dietitian or nutritionist who specializes in maternal and infant nutrition. They can provide personalized guidance and meal plans based on the client’s unique needs.
      8. Food Safety: Pregnant and postpartum individuals should be educated about food safety practices to prevent foodborne illnesses, which can be particularly harmful during this period.
      9. Support and Education: Providing emotional support and nutritional education is essential. Clients should be informed about the importance of nutrition for their health and the development of their baby.

Assess and educate clients about health risks based on family, population, and community:

  • Understanding family health history can help identify genetic predispositions to certain conditions.
  • Healthcare providers may assess social determinants of health, such as income, housing, and access to healthcare, to identify community- specific health risks and address disparities.

Family-Level Assessment and Education:

  • Collecting Family Health History: Begin by gathering comprehensive information about the client’s family health history. Ask about the presence of chronic conditions, genetic predispositions, and any significant health events or patterns within the family.
  • Risk Assessment: Analyze the family health history to identify potential genetic and lifestyle-related risks. Assess the client’s own health behaviors and habits in the context of their family’s health history.
  • Education: Provide clients with personalized education about their specific family health risks. This may involve explaining the hereditary nature of certain conditions, discussing lifestyle modifications, and recommending preventive measures or screenings based on the family history.
  • Support and Counseling: Offer emotional support and counseling to clients who may be dealing with concerns or anxieties related to their family health history. Encourage open communication within the family to share health information.

Population-Level Assessment and Education:

  • Assessment of Demographics: Understand the demographics of the population the client belongs to. This includes factors like age, gender, socioeconomic status, cultural background, and geographic location.
  • Epidemiological Data: Utilize epidemiological data to identify common health issues and trends within the client’s population group. This information helps in recognizing prevalent health risks.
  • Education: Provide population-specific health education materials and resources. Address cultural and linguistic considerations to ensure the information is accessible and culturally sensitive.
  • Preventive Measures: Emphasize preventive measures and health promotion strategies tailored to the population’s needs. This may include vaccination campaigns, health screenings, and lifestyle interventions.
  • Community Resources: Connect clients with community resources, support groups, or organizations that can assist them in addressing population-specific health risks or concerns.

Community-Level Assessment and Education:

  • Community Health Assessment: Conduct a comprehensive assessment of the client’s community to identify environmental, social, and economic factors that impact health. This may involve analyzing data on access to healthcare, environmental hazards, and social determinants of health.
  • Community Engagement: Encourage clients to actively engage with their community in health promotion efforts. This can include participating in local health initiatives, volunteering, or advocating for policy changes that benefit the community’s health.
  • Education: Educate clients about community-wide health risks and disparities. Discuss strategies for community-level prevention and health improvement.
  • Advocacy: Empower clients to become advocates for positive health changes within their community. This may involve working with local leaders, policymakers, or community organizations to address health inequalities.
  • Environmental Awareness: Raise awareness about environmental factors that may pose health risks, such as pollution or unsafe drinking water. Encourage clients to take measures to protect themselves and their community.

Infancy (0-1 years):


  • Evaluate growth and developmental milestones, including physical growth, motor skills, and cognitive development.
  • Assess feeding patterns, sleep routines, and overall health.
  • Identify any signs of developmental delays or concerns.


  • Provide guidance on infant nutrition, breastfeeding, or formula feeding.
  • Educate parents on infant sleep safety and create a safe sleep environment.
  • Offer advice on age-appropriate activities to promote sensory and motor development.

Toys for Infants: Infants often enjoy playing solitary play with:

  • Soft stuffed animals
  • Crib mobiles with contrasting colors
  • Squeeze toys
  • Rattles
  • Musical toys
  • Water toys in the bath
  • Large picture books
  • Push toys (once they begin to walk)

Infant Eating and Nutrition:

  • Parents can choose between breastfeeding/chestfeeding and bottle-feeding.
  • Human milk is the best choice for infants under 6 months.
  • Whole milk introduction should wait until after the first year.
  • Avoid skim and low-fat milk due to inadequate essential fatty acids and high protein/electrolyte concentration.
  • Consider fluoride supplementation around 6 months of age.
  • Introduce solid foods at 5-6 months, one at a time, with 4-7 days between to detect allergies.
  • The sequence may include rice cereal, fruits, vegetables, meats, egg yolks (avoid egg whites until later), and cheese.
  • Avoid solid foods that pose a choking risk, like nuts, seeds, raisins, popcorn, grapes, hot dog pieces, and peanut butter.
  • Do not microwave baby bottles or baby food.
  • Avoid mixing food or medications with formula.
  • Never add honey or corn syrup to formula, water, or other fluids before one year of age.
  • Offer fruit juice from a cup to prevent bottle-mouth caries.

Home Safety:

  • Baby-proof the home to create a safe environment for the infant.
  • Use safety gates to protect against stair accidents.
  • Never vigorously shake an infant.

Bed and Changing Table Safety:

  • Guard the infant on the bed or changing table to prevent falls.

Bath Safety:

  • Ensure bathwater is not too hot, and never leave the child unattended in the bath.

Safety Around Hot Liquids:

  • Do not hold the infant while drinking or working near hot liquids.

Burn Prevention:

  • Use cool vaporizers instead of steam to prevent burn injuries.

Choking Prevention:

  • Avoid offering food that is round and similar in diameter to the airway.
  • Ensure toys have no small pieces to prevent choking hazards.

Crib Safety:

  • Hang mobiles and other toys over the crib out of reach of the infant to prevent strangulation.
  • Avoid placing large toys in the crib as older infants may use them to climb.
  • Position cribs away from curtains and blind cords.

General Safety:

  • Cover electrical outlets.
  • Remove hazardous objects from low, reachable places.
  • Keep chemicals, medications, poisons, and plants out of the infant’s reach.
  • Have the poison-control hotline number available.

Toddler (2-5 years):


  • Evaluate physical growth, fine and gross motor skills, and cognitive development.
  • Assess socialization and communication skills.
  • Screen for common childhood health issues.


  • Educate parents on age-appropriate nutrition and healthy eating habits.
  • Provide guidance on toilet training and personal hygiene.
  • Encourage the development of language and communication skills.
  • Discuss safety measures, such as car seat use and childproofing the home.

Physical Characteristics:

  • Height and weight increase in step-like fashion.
  • Dental care is important, and a dentist visit is recommended around 1 year of age, or first teeth erupt.
  • Avoid allowing the toddler to fall asleep with a bottle containing sweetened liquids.
  • Toddlers usually sleep through the night and take one daytime nap. Nap stops at age 3.
  • Encourage constant bedtime, and provision of security objects (e.g blankets)

Vital Signs:

  • Axillary temperature: 97.5°F to 98.6°F (36.4°C to 37°C)
  • Apical heart rate: 80 to 120 beats per minute
  • Respirations: 20 to 30 breaths per minute
  • Blood pressure averages: 92/55 mm Hg


  • Toddlers benefit from several small, nutritious meals each day.
  • Consume 2 to 3 servings of milk daily for calcium and phosphorus.
  • Include iron-fortified cereal, a high-iron diet, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin C in the diet.
  • Offer a variety of foods; avoid concentrated sweets and empty calories.
  • Seat the toddler in a high chair at the family table for meals.
  • Supervise mealtimes to prevent choking hazards.


  • Toddlers develop motor skills, including walking, running, fine motor skills, and language skills.
  • They often use the word “no” to assert independence.
  • Vocabulary expands, and they start asking “why” questions.

Signs of Toilet Training:

  • Able to stay dry for 2 hours.
  • Wakes up dry from a nap.
  • Can sit, squat, and walk.
  • Can remove clothing.
  • Recognizes the urge to defecate or urinate.
  • Expresses willingness to please the parent.
  • Can sit on the toilet for 5 to 10 minutes without fussing.


  • Parallel play is common, and short attention spans lead to frequent toy changes.
  • Toddlers explore their own and others’ body parts.
  • Common toys include push/pull toys, blocks, sand, finger paints, bubbles, balls, crayons, trucks, dolls, containers, Play-Doh, toy telephones, cloth books, and wooden puzzles.


  • Supervise toddlers during play.
  • Follow car safety guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Ensure car doors are locked.
  • Use back burners on the stove and turn handles inward.
  • Keep small appliance cords away from the toddler.
  • Secure windows and doors with locks.
  • Place gates at stairways.
  • Never leave the toddler alone near water.
  • Keep toilet lids closed.
  • Store toxic substances out of reach and keep the Poison Control Center number available.

School-age (6-12 years):


  • Assess physical growth, cognitive abilities, and school performance.
  • Evaluate social and emotional development.
  • Screen for vision, dental, and nutritional concerns.


  • Educate children and parents about balanced nutrition and physical activity.
  • Promote healthy sleep routines and stress management techniques.
  • Discuss safety, including bicycle helmet use and stranger danger awareness.
  • Encourage open communication between parents and children about puberty and body changes.

Physical Characteristics:

  • Average height and weight at age 12 are approximately 59 inches (30.5 cm to 150 cm) and 88 lb (40 kg).
  • The first permanent (secondary) teeth typically erupt around age 6, replacing deciduous teeth.
  • Regular dental visits are essential, and supervision is needed for brushing and flossing; fluoride supplements may be necessary.
  • Sleep requirements range from 10 to 12 hours per night.

Vital Signs:

  • Oral temperature: 97.5°F to 98.6°F (36.4°C to 37°C)
  • Apical heart rate: 60 to 100 beats per minute
  • Respiratory rate: 16 to 20 breaths per minute
  • Blood pressure: averages 107/64 mm Hg


  • School-age children have increased growth needs.
  • They are usually willing to try new foods.
  • A balanced diet chosen from foods in the MyPlate food plan is recommended.


  • School-age children continue to refine fine motor skills.
  • Gross motor skills continue to develop.
  • Increased strength and endurance are observed.


  • Play becomes more competitive.
  • Rules and rituals are important aspects of play and games.
  • School-age children enjoy various activities, including drawing, collecting items, playing with dolls, having pets, engaging in guessing games, playing board games, listening to the radio, watching television/videos, reading, and playing computer games.
  • Many children participate in team sports, secret clubs, gang activities, and scouting organizations.


  • School-age children experience less fear in play activities and may use tools and household items.
  • Safety measures include car safety, bicycle, skateboard, and team sports safety, water safety rules, caution with animals, traffic safety rules, knowledge of calling 911 in emergencies and keeping the Poison Control number available.

Adolescence (13-18 years):

Early Adolescence (11 to 14 Years of Age):

  • Rapidly accelerating growth with the appearance of secondary sex characteristics.
  • Limited abstract thought and exploration of newfound cognitive abilities.
  • Preoccupation with rapid body changes and trying out various roles.
  • Self-esteem fluctuations and concerns about body image.
  • Defining independence-dependence boundaries with parents.
  • Seeking peer affiliations and idealized friendships.
  • Self-exploration in terms of sexuality.
  • Wide mood swings and intense daydreaming.

Middle Adolescence (15 to 17 Years of Age):

  • Growth reaches peak velocity with advanced secondary sex characteristics.
  • Developing capacity for abstract thinking and concern with philosophical and social issues.
  • Increased narcissism and self-discovery.
  • Struggles for mastery within peer groups.
  • Testing of romantic relationships and growing capacity for mutual relationships.
  • Dating as romantic pairs and exploration of sexual identity.
  • More constancy of emotions.

Late Adolescence (18 to 20 Years of Age):

  • Growth decelerating in girls and nearly complete physical maturity.
  • Establishment of abstract thought and ability to view problems comprehensively.
  • Mature sexual identity and consolidation of identity.
  • Independence from family with less conflict.
  • Stable relationships and attachment to others.
  • Public identification as gay, lesbian, or bisexual may occur.
  • Intimacy involves commitment rather than exploration.
  • Emotions become more constant.


  • Evaluate physical growth and sexual development.
  • Assess mental health, emotional well-being, and peer relationships.
  • Screen for substance use and risky behaviors.


  • Provide comprehensive sexual education and discuss contraception options.
  • Educate on mental health awareness and the importance of seeking help when needed.
  • Discuss the risks of substance abuse and safe decision-making.
  • Encourage healthy lifestyle choices, including balanced nutrition and physical activity.

Vital Signs:

  • Temperature: 97.5°F to 98.6°F (36.4°C to 37°C)
  • Apical heart rate: 55 to 90 beats per minute
  • Respiratory rate: 12 to 20 breaths per minute
  • Blood pressure: averages 121/70 mm Hg


  • Teaching about the MyPlate food plan is important for adolescents.
  • Adolescents often eat whenever they have breaks in their activities.
  • Key nutritional needs include calcium, zinc, iron, folic acid, and protein.
  • Body image is highly significant for adolescents, and eating disorders are a concern in this age group.


  • Adolescents have well-developed gross and fine motor skills.
  • They experience increased strength and endurance.


  • Games and athletics are common forms of play for adolescents.
  • Competition and strict rules are important in their play activities.
  • Adolescents enjoy a variety of activities, including sports, videos, movies, reading, parties, dancing, hobbies, computer and electronic games, music, and experimenting with makeup and hairstyles.
  • Friends are crucial, and adolescents often gather in small groups.


  • Adolescents are often risk-takers, and safety education is crucial.
  • Instruct adolescents about the dangers of cigarette smoking, vaping, caffeine ingestion, drugs, and alcohol.
  • Encourage adolescents to recognize that they have choices in difficult or potentially dangerous situations.
  • Advocate for seat belt use and discuss the causes of motor vehicle accidents, including distracted driving with cell phones and electronic devices.
  • Discuss water safety.
  • Warn adolescents about the dangers of guns, violence, and gangs.
  • Provide information on complications associated with body piercing, tattooing, and tanning.
  • Address issues such as bullying, date rape, sexual relationships, sexually transmitted infections, and the risks associated with online communication and meetings with unknown individuals.

Adulthood (19-64 years):


  • Assess overall physical health, including vital signs and chronic conditions.
  • Evaluate mental health, stress levels, and coping mechanisms.
  • Screen for lifestyle-related risk factors like smoking and alcohol use.


  • Promote preventive healthcare, including regular check-ups and screenings.
  • Discuss family planning, contraception, and reproductive health as needed.
  • Provide guidance on stress management, work-life balance, and mental health self-care.
  • Educate on healthy lifestyle choices, such as exercise, diet, and smoking cessation.

Older Adulthood (65+ years):


  • Evaluate physical health, mobility, and cognitive function.
  • Assess social support systems and emotional well-being.
  • Screen for age-related health issues like osteoporosis and dementia.


  • Discuss aging-related concerns, including fall prevention and medication management.
  • Educate on the importance of regular exercise and balanced nutrition for older adults.
  • Provide information on end-of-life planning, advance directives, and palliative care options.
  • Offer resources for support groups and services for older adults and their caregivers.

Assess a client’s readiness to learn, learning preferences, and barriers to learning:

  • Recognizing a client’s readiness to learn involves assessing their motivation, interest, and willingness to engage in health education.
  • Understanding learning preferences allows healthcare providers to tailor their teaching methods, such as using visual aids or interactive discussions.
  • Identifying barriers to learning, such as language barriers or low health literacy, informs the development of strategies to overcome these obstacles.

Assess Readiness to Learn:

  • Emotional Readiness: Determine the client’s emotional state and their willingness to engage in the learning process. Are they open to receiving information, or are they anxious, distressed, or distracted by other concerns? Assess their level of motivation to learn about their health condition or treatment.
  • Cognitive Readiness: Evaluate the client’s cognitive abilities and readiness to process information. Consider factors like their level of education, cognitive impairments, or any language barriers that may affect their ability to understand and retain information.
  • Physical Readiness: Take into account the client’s physical condition. Are they experiencing pain, discomfort, or fatigue that may hinder their ability to concentrate or engage in learning activities?

Identify Learning Preferences:

  • Learning Style: Determine the client’s preferred learning style. Some people are visual learners, while others are auditory or kinesthetic learners. Ask the client how they best absorb and retain information, and tailor your teaching methods accordingly.
  • Learning Environment: Ask the client about their preferred learning environment. Some may prefer a quiet, private space, while others may be comfortable learning in a group setting. Respect their preferences whenever possible.
  • Resources: Inquire about the client’s access to learning resources. Do they have a smartphone, computer, or access to the internet? Understanding their resources can help you recommend appropriate educational materials and tools.

Identify Barriers to Learning:

  • Language and Literacy: Assess the client’s language proficiency and literacy level. Language barriers or low literacy can significantly impede understanding. Ensure that educational materials are provided in a language the client understands and at an appropriate reading level.
  • Cultural and Religious Beliefs: Be aware of cultural and religious beliefs that may impact the client’s willingness to accept certain health information or interventions. Respect their values and integrate culturally sensitive approaches into education.
  • Health Literacy: Evaluate the client’s health literacy level. Some clients may struggle to understand medical jargon or complex health concepts. Simplify explanations and use plain language to improve comprehension.
  • Psychosocial Factors: Explore psychosocial factors that may affect learning, such as stress, anxiety, depression, or a history of trauma. Address these factors as necessary and provide emotional support.
  • Logistical Barriers: Identify logistical barriers that may hinder the client’s ability to learn, such as transportation issues, childcare responsibilities, or work commitments. Assist the client in finding solutions to these barriers, such as offering flexible scheduling or transportation assistance.

Develop a Customized Teaching Plan:

  • Assess Learning Objectives:
    Start by clarifying the specific learning objectives for the client. What do they need to know and achieve? These objectives should be clear, measurable, and relevant to the client’s healthcare goals. For example, the objectives might include understanding a specific medical condition, learning how to administer medication, or adopting a healthier lifestyle.
  • Identify Learning Styles and Preferences:
    Determine the client’s preferred learning style. Some people learn best through visual aids (visual learners), while others prefer listening (auditory learners), and some benefit from hands-on activities (kinesthetic learners). Tailor your teaching methods to align with the client’s learning style. For instance, use diagrams and charts for visual learners, engage in discussions for auditory learners, and demonstrate techniques for kinesthetic learners.
  • Select Appropriate Teaching Methods:
    Choose teaching methods that align with the client’s learning style and objectives. Common teaching methods include:

    • One-on-One Instruction: Provide personalized, individualized instruction during one-on-one sessions, ensuring that the client receives your undivided attention and can ask questions.
    • Group Education: Conduct group education sessions if the client prefers a social learning environment or if multiple clients share similar learning needs.
    • Demonstration: Physically show the client how to perform a specific task, such as administering medication or dressing a wound.
    • Use of Multimedia: Utilize videos, interactive software, or online resources to supplement traditional teaching methods, catering to different learning preferences.
    • Hands-On Practice: Encourage the client to practice the skills they’ve learned to enhance retention and confidence.
  • Set a Timeline:
    Establish a timeline for the teaching plan. Determine the frequency and duration of educational sessions based on the complexity of the material, the client’s readiness to learn, and their availability. Provide a structured schedule to help the client stay organized and motivated.
  • Address Barriers:
    Based on the assessment of barriers to learning, develop strategies to overcome these obstacles. For example, if language barriers exist, consider using interpreters or translated materials. If logistical barriers like transportation issues are identified, explore options such as telehealth or arranging transportation support.
  • Engage in Active Learning:
    Encourage the client’s active participation in the learning process. Ask open-ended questions, facilitate discussions, and encourage them to share their thoughts, concerns, and questions. Active engagement promotes better understanding and retention of information.
  • Evaluate Learning Outcomes:
    Establish clear criteria to assess the client’s understanding and progress toward meeting the learning objectives. Regularly evaluate their knowledge and skills through quizzes, demonstrations, or practice scenarios. Use feedback as a basis for adjusting the teaching plan as needed.
  • Provide Support and Resources:
    Offer additional resources to support the client’s learning journey. This may include pamphlets, websites, contact information for support groups, or referrals to specialists for further education and guidance.
  • Document the Teaching Plan:
    Maintain a detailed record of the teaching plan, including the client’s learning objectives, progress, and any modifications made to the plan over time. This documentation helps ensure continuity of care and facilitates communication among healthcare team members.
  • Reassess and Adjust:
    Periodically reassess the client’s readiness to learn and adjust the teaching plan as necessary. As the client’s needs, preferences, and circumstances change, adapt the educational approach to ensure continued effectiveness.

Plan and/or participate in community health education:

  • Interactive Workshops: Organize workshops where participants actively engage in discussions, hands-on activities, and group exercises related to health topics.
  • Community Partnerships: Collaborate with community organizations, schools, and local leaders to reach a broader audience and leverage existing community resources.
  • Cultural Competence Training: Ensure that healthcare providers are culturally competent to deliver education that is sensitive to the diverse backgrounds of community members

Assessment of Community Needs:

  • Data Collection: Nurses gather data to assess the health needs and priorities of the community. This involves reviewing public health statistics, conducting surveys, and engaging with community members to identify health concerns.
  • Identifying Vulnerable Populations: Nurses pay special attention to vulnerable populations within the community, such as children, the elderly, low-income individuals, and minority groups. Understanding the unique needs of these populations is crucial for designing effective education programs.

Collaborative Planning:

  • Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Nurses work closely with other healthcare professionals, public health agencies, community organizations, and local authorities to plan and coordinate health education programs. Collaboration ensures that initiatives are comprehensive and address all relevant aspects of community health.
  • Setting Objectives: Nurses, along with their collaborators, establish clear and measurable objectives for community health education programs. These objectives help guide the development and evaluation of educational activities.

Designing Educational Programs:

  • Tailoring Content: Nurses tailor educational content to meet the specific needs and cultural preferences of the community. Information is presented in a clear, culturally sensitive, and language-appropriate manner.
  • Selecting Delivery Methods: Nurses choose appropriate educational methods, which can include workshops, seminars, community meetings, health fairs, online resources, or mobile health clinics. They also incorporate multimedia, interactive activities, and hands-on demonstrations to engage participants effectively.
  • Promoting Prevention: Emphasis is placed on preventive measures, including healthy lifestyle choices, disease screenings, vaccination campaigns, and early detection of health conditions.

Implementation and Facilitation:

  • Delivery of Education: Nurses take an active role in delivering health education sessions to community members. They serve as educators, facilitators, and resources for participants.
  • Engagement and Empowerment: Nurses encourage active participation from the community by facilitating discussions, addressing questions and concerns, and involving community members in decision-making related to their health.

Advocacy and Support:

  • Advocating for Health Equity: Nurses advocate for policies and resources that promote health equity within the community. They work to address social determinants of health, such as poverty, housing, and access to healthcare services.
  • Providing Support: Nurses offer ongoing support to individuals and families who may require additional guidance or resources to make healthy choices. This support may include referrals to healthcare providers, counseling, or assistance in accessing social services.

Evaluation and Continuous Improvement:

  • Assessment of Impact: Nurses assess the effectiveness of community health education programs by measuring outcomes such as improved health knowledge, behavior change, and reduced health disparities.
  • Feedback and Adaptation: Based on evaluation results, nurses and their teams adapt and refine educational programs to better meet the needs of the community. Continuous improvement is integral to the success of these initiatives.