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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

HLTH 2911: Perinatal Nursing

Participants gain a solid foundation in the basic knowledge required in perinatal practice. The course focuses on facilitating participants' understanding of key concepts related to antepartum, intrapartum and postpartum nursing care, including the assessment and care of the newborn. Learning activities are designed to foster participants' understanding of social, ethical, and cultural influences on the childbearing family, the health care resources available to support families, and of the entry-level nursing competencies and standards of care required in perinatal practice.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the factors and trends that influence the contemporary childbearing family, including social, ethical, and cultural issues.
  • Discuss ways to assess and promote health in the childbearing family.
  • Describe the nurse's role in perinatal care, including professional competencies and standards of care.
  • Describe the interprofessional nature of the perinatal health care team.
  • Describe the anatomy, physiology, and processes associated with a normal pregnancy and birth - fertility and conception, pregnancy and fetal development, labour and birth, and the postpartum period.
  • Discuss nursing care during pregnancy, labour and birth, and the postpartum period, including common complications that may arise.
  • Describe the processes of lactation and breastfeeding and identify ways to provide nursing care and support for breastfeeding and formula feeding in the postpartum period.
  • Describe the characteristics of the normal newborn.
  • Describe the assessment and care of the newborn during the postpartum period, including common complications that may occur.
  • Identify community resources available to support the health and well being of the childbearing family in the early newborn period.

Course topics

Introductory Module: Professional Nursing in Canada

  • Topic 1: CNA Code of Ethics
  • Topic 2: BCCNM Standards
  • Topic 3: Client Rights and Confidentiality

Module 1: Introduction to Perinatal Nursing in Canada

  • Topic 1: The Contemporary Canadian Family - Trends in Health Care
  • Topic 2: The Nurse's Role in Perinatal Care
  • Topic 3: The Human Reproductive System

Module 2: The Antepartum Experience

  • Topic 1: Conception and Fertility
  • Topic 2: Prenatal Care and Adaptation to Pregnancy
  • Topic 3: Nursing Care for the Woman with Complications during Pregnancy

Module 3: The Intrapartum Experience

  • Topic 1: The Process of Labour
  • Topic 2: Pain Management during Labour and Birth
  • Topic 3: Complications during Labour, Delivery, and Birth.

Module 4: The Newborn

  • Topic 1: The Newborn's Response to Birth
  • Topic 2: Nursing Assessment of the Newborn-Needs and Care
  • Topic 3: Newborn Complications

Module 5: The Postpartum Experience

  • Topic 1: The Woman's Experience
  • Topic 2: Maternal Complications after Delivery
  • Topic 3: Breastfeeding

Module 6: The Community Experience

  • Topic 1: The First Home Visit
  • Topic 2: Role of the Community Health Nurse - Focus on the Mother
  • Topic 3: Role of the Community Health Nurse - Focus on the Newborn
  • Topic 4: The Family at Home-Complications

Required text and materials

Students who do not have a maternity textbook are required to source and purchase their own for this course. Students may consult their Open Learning Faculty Member for a suitable title after registration.


Please be aware that should your course have a final exam, you are responsible for the fee to the online proctoring service, ProctorU, or to the in-person approved Testing Centre. Please contact with any questions about this.

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the final mandatory exam.

Students enrolled in the Return to Registered Nurse Practice (RRNP) program must achieve a minimum mark of 60% in this course overall. In addition, students in the School of Nursing may take this course as an elective, and also it is intended as a qualifying course for some internationally-educated nurses. In these latter two cases, students must also achieve a minimum mark of 60% in this course overall.

Assignment 1 10%
Assignment 2 10%
Assignment 3 10%
Assignment 4 10%
Assignment 5 10%
Final Exam (mandatory) 50%
Total 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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