Video series helps reduce barriers to prenatal education

COVID-19, existing inequities drive the need

November 10, 2020

Video series slide showing a pregnant woman talking with a man on an ipad

As COVID-19 started its spread in Minnesota, nurse-midwife leaders from across the state started meeting weekly over Zoom to discuss how care was changing.

With the COVID-19 pandemic limiting clinical visits, expecting patients experienced even less time with their providers during wellness checks, and their partners weren’t allowed to join them. In addition, in-person prenatal classes were suspended.

The new protocols exacerbated an existing challenge to provide expecting parents with the education to prepare for a major life milestone. “It’s an ongoing issue to flatten inequities around accessibility to education that patients and families need to prepare for having a baby,” says Ann Forster Page, DNP, APRN, CNM, FACNM, nurse-midwife service director at University of Minnesota Physicians, adjunct clinical assistant professor at the School of Nursing and community partner for the project.

To address the need, students in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program created a comprehensive library of educational videos to prepare expecting parents for pregnancy, labor, postpartum and newborn care. The series, Having A Baby: Prenatal and Newborn Care Education, includes 60 videos of educational material that is free to access, and is short and easy to understand.

Four DNP students, Shannon Weas, Bonnie Perrine, Naomi Lara and Mandy Hoffman, a DNP Bentson Scholar, wrote all scripts for the videos and enlisted the assistance of DNP colleagues in nurse-midwifery, pediatric nurse practitioner and women’s health nurse practitioner specialties to record the videos. Filmmaker Deacon Warner edited the videos. All videos are available on the School of Nursing website at

“COVID-19 highlighted inequities that already existed in terms of accessing prenatal education and a timely need for a free, easily accessible option for prenatal education became apparent,” says Weas, BSN, RN, PHN, a DNP nurse-midwifery student who will graduate in 2021. “A large reason I went into midwifery is the midwifery philosophy of whole-person care, which includes providing equitable care to all. Every person deserves the right to access health care. While our current system makes this difficult, this project is a step in increasing access to, and fighting inequities in, health care.”

The goal of the videos is to help expecting parents feel more prepared for pregnancy, birth and newborn care and to think through their values and options in pregnancy care. Topics include the span from breastfeeding to baby care, normal physiologic labor, how to support labor and vaginal birth after C-section preparation.

There is now an effort to caption the videos for those who are hearing impaired and translate them to Spanish and Somali. They have applied for a grant to be able to expand language access to other languages widely spoken in the Twin Cities area as well.

“There is just such a vast need for more accessible patient education,” says Lara, BSN, RN, adding that her own experience with a lack of prenatal and woman’s health education was one of the reasons why she chose to become a midwife. “I hope that providers are able to use this resource to enhance and reinforce the education they are giving to patients, and perhaps increase time to answer more patient questions. I also hope that the patients who see these videos will feel more empowered in their pregnancy, birth and parenting.”

The students’ engagement on the series was part of the DNP program requirement to develop and implement a system-level change.

“All four of these students demonstrated an ability to consider what patients and families need, how to use their knowledge to create easily understandable education, and how to lead a multidisciplinary team to create a huge impact in care delivery,” says Forster Page. “These are the skills and qualities we need in our future providers.”

Categories: Education