The Health Promotion Model is a combination of medical and behavioral perspectives, which shed the light on how individuals behave in different real-life situations and what factors promote or hinder the development of healthy behaviors in people. In her model, Nola Pender provides 14 different theoretical propositions regarding health behaviors, and all of them can be equally applied to behavioral patterns in pregnant women. It should be noted, that interpersonal relations is one of the most important health behavioral factors, and when it comes to pregnancy, the influence of families and peers can either promote health behaviors or can hinder the development of health commitments in women.
Generally, Nola Pender (2005) is correct in that “families, peers, and health care providers are important sources of interpersonal influence that can increase or decrease commitment to an engagement in health-promoting behavior”. Needless to say that the health of the future child largely depends on the behaviors and commitments which young women display during their pregnancy; very often, these behaviors and commitments are heavily influenced by what other family members, friends, or neighbors choose to do. For example, it is very probable that in the atmosphere of substance and alcohol abuse a pregnant woman will follow the same behavioral patterns, thus exposing herself and her future child to significant health risks. Simultaneously, where family members and peers make everything possible to engage a pregnant woman into healthier behaviors (for example, participation in sports or traveling), the pregnant woman will have better chances to withstand the pressures of the outside world and to restrain herself from negative health behaviors.
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Promoting health behaviors in pregnant women is impossible without the growing role and participation of midwives in the process of monitoring the quality and state of health in pregnant women. It would be fair to say that the quality and effectiveness of health promotion depends on how committed midwives are to the health promotion tasks and what they attempt to do to reduce the negative impact of health behaviors, which hinder health commitment among pregnant women. In this context, education and regular control of the woman’s state can be fairly regarded as the two most effective behavioral interventions. Regular consultations and interpersonal discussions of the most problematic pregnancy aspects may help pregnant women identify and address negative health behaviors in their daily lives and either prevent them or at least reduce their negative influence. Engaging pregnant women in education may take place in groups or during routine examinations. They may take a form of personal discussions or group activities. The combination of both personal and group educational initiatives will produce the most significant effect on the quality of pregnant women’s lives.
Such education should also cover those, who produce negative influences on pregnant women’s health and who display negative attitudes toward health promotion behaviors. Family members should actively participate in the process of promoting health behaviors in their pregnant family member. Of course, such education is not without its problems. Very often, due to cultural and language difficulties, such educational initiatives may become difficult, if not impossible. However, the major midwife’s task is to identify the problem and the woman with problem (for example, smoking), and to develop trust and commitment in women who want to give up their bad habits and promote healthier attitudes toward life. Beyond these factors, it is important to understand social, educational, economic, and organizational factors which govern women’s lives and tackling the health behaviors, which prevent women from becoming healthier. It is important that a woman realizes the scope and the presence of negative behaviors and knows the negative impact, which these behaviors produce on the future child’s health. Very often, this knowledge becomes the driving factor in the development of healthier behaviors in pregnant women. These should be further supplemented by the examples, which family members display in their desire to support a pregnant woman on her way to healthier existence.
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