Maternal Healthcare Nursing Theories

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Maternal nursing is a highly important and responsible area of healthcare. It includes both prenatal and postnatal care for women and babies. This care affects medical parent and children conditions as well as a psychological state. It is difficult to overestimate the impact of the parent-child relationship on children’s lives. Nurse maternal healthcare should be based on knowledge of different factors which affect this relationship. Various nursing theories were developed to create the medical and psychological basis for maternal nursing. In particular, the parent-child interaction model (Chinn & Kramer, 2014) and the maternal role-attainment theory (Snowden, Donnell, & Duffy, 2014) were established. While both theories take into account different factors’ impact on the parent-child relationship, the parent-child interaction model underlines the role of child and parent behavior, and the maternal role-attainment theory is more focused on environmental factors.

Crucial Factors for Maternal Role Identity

Both theories highlighted factors that might affect maternal role identity. According to the parent-child interaction model, key influential factors are parent or caregiver behavior, child behavior, and environmental issues (Chinn & Kramer, 2014). A parent should have the ability to notice and interpret a child’s needs, calm a child in a case of distress, and perform appropriate verbal and non-verbal communication with a baby. Infant behavior includes an ability to express one’s needs and to provide an emotional response to parent or caregiver activities. Without these behavioral issues, it might be difficult to develop the infant-parent relationship. Environmental factors, which include other people’s actions and social and economic issues, are considered to be less important (Chinn & Kramer, 2014).

By contrast, maternal role-attainment theory pays much attention to the environment. According to this model (Snowden et al., 2014), three groups of factors could be influential: the microsystem, mesosystem, and macrosystem. The microsystem represents family members’ and friends’ influence, the mesosystem includes the community impact, and the macrosystem is the effect of social conditions such as the healthcare system, education, and economic conditions. It is stated that the microsystem is the most influential for maternal role acceptance (Snowden et al., 2014).

Meta-paradigm of Nursing According to Both Theories

According to both theories, nurse maternal healthcare should be performed about influential factors. It is postulated that nurse care should be provided to both a mother and a child and that that care should help to develop a healthy relationship between them. However, meta-paradigms of nursing could be different. In the case of Ms. Mantayer, a nurse should take into account a significant influence of the microsystem (current baby’s father absence and the lack of family support) and the macrosystem (limited social support). In addition, post-partum depression could significantly affect Ms. Mantayer’s maternal role attainment. Interactive nursing intervention might release tension during the first days after the infant’s birth (Snowden et al., 2014). A nurse’s participation in child care could promote the woman’s psychological recovery and the mother’s feelings of acceptance.

According to the parent-child Interaction model, nurses should participate in the interactions between an infant and a mother. Feeding and teaching issues are especially important for the mother-child relationship development (Chinn & Kramer, 2014). Ms. Manatayer’s baby was born without health problems and did not require special medical care. It means that a nurse could use the procedure of baby feeding to strengthen the connection between Ms. Manatayer and her baby. A nurse should focus the mother’s attention on the child’s behavioral patterns. It might help the mother to understand her daughter’s requirements and receive positive feedback.


Maternal nursing theories serve to help nurses to understand factors that influence the parent-child relationship and maternal role acceptance. The theoretical knowledge help nurses to provide in practice special care with the purpose to strengthen a connection between a parent and an infant. It is essential to take into account all the aspects of a particular mother such as her psychological and medical condition, family, social and economic factors to provide the most efficient care.


Chinn, P. L., & Kramer, M. K. (2014). Knowledge Development in Nursing: Theory and Process. New York, NY: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Snowden, A., Donnell, A., & Duffy, T. (2014). Pioneering theories in nursing. Luton. UK: Andrews UK Limited.

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