Theory and Practice for Teaching the Childbearing Couple

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Behavioral, cognitive, and humanistic theories are relevant to teaching couples and groups about childbearing. In this article, theories of adult learning are examined and the ways in which they can be used with childbearing couples are illustrated. The process is to identify the learner's needs and apply the appropriate theory and methods. The emotional context in which learning occurs is underscored as is the use of a facilitator rather than a teacher role. In addition, the health care providers' experiences must be considered, because their agreement with the learning plan is critical for developing a partnership with the couple. Two examples are presented, one through a group childbirth education experience and the other through the participation of women and health care providers in developing a hand-held patient record.

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