Date of Award


Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Nursing MNurs


Faculty of Nursing and Health

First Advisor

Dr. Alan Gibbons


The birth of a first child is a momentous occasion in the lives of the couple who are the parents. The event of birth heralds a period of enjoyment, wonder, emotional highs and lows, turmoil and change for the developing family. This treatise presents an exploration of the experience of parenting for the first time. An extensive literature review of qualitative research revealed that parents adjust to their role experiencing a variety of losses and gains during this process. Support, both formal and informal, were identified to be crucial to parents adjusting to their new role in a satisfying way. In addition to this, it was identified that expectant parents had unrealistic expectations of how the birth of a child would affect them, and they lacked practical knowledge of how to meet the meet the needs of this child. In respect to these findings, many researchers recommended a review of the structure and content of antenatal classes and the education of midwives and early childhood nurses. The information has been presented using the conceptual framework of Orem's Self-Care Deficit Theory of Nursing to enable identification of the needs of new parents and how nurses may appropriately care for the developing family to encourage a satisfactory transition to parenthood. Recommendations have been made by the author regarding the education of midwives and early childhood nurses and for an alternative approach to preparation for parenthood classes.


Used by permission: the author

A print copy of this thesis is held in the Avondale College Library (Sydney SC 618.6 MAN).