Since I have the opportunity to teach Family Life Education to middle school children, I felt it would be helpful to continue along the same lines and develop a unit on pregnancy considering both the mother and fetus. This unit will be developed to teach grades 7-9.
Most of us are aware that the age for teen pregnancies is getting lower and it is a cause for alarm. Although we can’t stop teens from becoming sexually involved or even getting pregnant, I feel it is to their advantage to arm them with as much knowledge as possible.
So much is happening to teens today even if they don’t become involved, they see things happening all around them, they have questions about what they see or even what they experience. Often it is not their parents they approach with these questions, it is their friends, who, many times don’t have the right answers to give their peers. So this unit is written to give the correct information.
It is advised to start this unit by giving a pre-test that will help both the teacher and the students to find out exactly how much of a basis they both have to work with as far as pregnancy and childbirth go. Then the unit will start with conception, signs and tests for pregnancy. To give the students a general overlook on the developing fetus and its effect on the mother, I plan to go through fetal development. It can be extremely helpful to the student to learn first, what is happening to the fetus in its forty weeks of development, to be able to relate information that will be given at a later time and it’s necessary so the student can see the importance of each of the months of fetal development. It would be helpful to have either plastic models of fetal development or transparencies to keep the student interested in the class discussion that will be going on.
After discussing fetal development then it ties in to go back and cover how the mother’s habits or activities will have an effect on the fetus. So many times people, are not aware of the possible consequences the mother’s activities will have on the fetus. To cultivate this awareness, I will use class discussions and filmstrips or slides with the hopes that at some other time, either when they (the girls) are pregnant or even friends or family, they will be able to relate this information to friends or family. Habits that affect fetal development such as smoking, drinking, taking drugs, caffeine, or antibiotics, or even inherited defects that affect the fetus.
This unit also includes a section that will be able to tie into foods and nutrition. Statistics have shown that the mother’s diet does have an effect on fetal development and can go so far as to affect the mental development or capacity of the unborn fetus. Again, developing an awareness of these possible effects the mother’s nutritional habits will have on her baby,will hopefully help both male and female students to see how important it is to eat right and they may be able to apply this knowledge at a later time. The students will be able to look at and examine a regular diet for a pregnant woman or one for a woman with diabetes or other physical problems. Along the same line it is good to stress how too much weight can affect the mother and fetus or how losing weight can affect the fetus.
Something that the student can relate to is how teen pregnancy can affect both the teen and fetus. I feel it is very important to talk about teen pregnancy since there is a high number of our teens who get pregnant not too long after leaving the middle school level, and if there is the possibility that one pregnancy can be prevented than this should be presented. It can come in handy to use statistics on the percentage of teens who give birth to one child who will have another in a certain period of time. This unit also touches on the higher incidence of certain types of birth defects and problems during pregnancy for teens as compared to a woman in her twenties.
This unit will also touch on tests done on the mother during pregnancy such as ultrasound, amniocentesis, fetoscopy, and AFP. How the tests are done, when they’re done, and why the tests are done will be examined. As much knowledge as it’s possible to give our children, we should give to them. If some of these tests are something that they might have to experience then they should be touched on. All of us are curious about what certain things are, it’s good to know what these things involve.
Myths should be covered to dispel many wrong concepts that people have about pregnancy and how certain things will affect the baby. To round out pregnancy, childbirth and lactation should be covered also. Childbirth will include signs of labor and the stages of labor. We will also look at the different types of childbirth available to women and the pros and cons of each type, just about all aspects involved in childbirth.