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Public Health Nurs. 1995 Feb;12(1):53-60.

Prenatal peer counseling: an answer to the persistent difficulties with prenatal care for low-income women.

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  • 1Faculty of Nursing, University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Our intention in this article is to provide the reader with the theoretical framework of prenatal peer counseling. A second article describing a prenatal peer program that is functional in the province of Quebec will be presented subsequently with its outcomes and recommendations. However, before planning the implementation of such a program or even assessing its effectiveness, one must understand how peer counseling can be used as an assistive strategy and why it is perceived to be a community approach worth considering with pregnant women from poor socioeconomic backgrounds. This approach addresses most problems encountered when prenatal programs fail to meet the specific needs of these women. Principles of the therapeutic community and its derivatives are put forward to lay the theoretical foundation of prenatal peer counseling. The studies reviewed show that psychosocial variables associated with pregnancy outcome and poverty such as anxiety, social support, and self-esteem can be positively influenced through a prenatal peer counseling program. We strongly recommend that nurses working with low-income families consider prenatal peer counseling as an empowering strategy for mothers within a given community.

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