• Prenatal Counseling and Marijuana; Professional Challenges to the Nurse-Patient Relationship

      Ebersole, Nancy; Nowka, Scott; Dunnigan, Shea (2020-05-01)
      Prenatal counseling is imperative to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy. With the recent change in legal status regarding marijuana in the United States, challenges for counseling have arose. It is important that healthcare providers are screening women for marijuana use during their prenatal visits, in order to initiate the proper counseling needed for their patients. Considering that THC, the main component in marijuana, can enter the fetal brain, it is crucial for healthcare providers to educate pregnant women on the effects that it can cause to their child. A systematic review of the literature was done using CINAHL database to identify the needs of pregnant women and the challenges to healthcare providers pertaining to marijuana use. The results of the studies showed that there are barriers related to counseling—how counseling is initiated, the quality of information provided by the healthcare team, and the perception of counseling. Counseling is not always initiated by the provider, whether they feel the patient is not using or because they do not want to deal with the legal and ethical issues of the situation if they are using. The information provided by the healthcare team lacks detail and quality, due to limited amount of research on the topic. Healthcare providers admit that they do not know what to tell their patients about marijuana use during pregnancy. Counseling did differ depending on whether the patient disclosed current or past marijuana use, which is why women fear telling their healthcare providers. More research must be done regarding how marijuana may affect the fetus and newborn. This information needs to be provided to obstetric healthcare workers, so that they can pass it on to their patients.