259821 Reconciling pregnancy among methamphetamine-dependent mothers

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Margaret Susan Stemmler, PhD, FNP, CNM , School of Nursing, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
MarySue V. Heilemann, PhD, RN , School of Nursing, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Adeline Nyamathi, PhD, ANP, FAAN , School of Nursing, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Background: Methamphetamine-using women are known to delay entry into prenatal services and have limited prenatal visits that can lead to premature labor and/or birth and low birth weight. Methods: Using Constructivist Grounded Theory, women's experiences with early pregnancy were explored through semi-structured interviews with 17 pregnant or postpartum women who used methamphetamine during a portion of their pregnancy. The participants were from urban settings in southern California. Results: Analyses showed that the women went through a process of Reconciling Pregnancy covering six stages of action in order to reconcile themselves to their pregnancies. Our analyses suggested that this sample of dependent methamphetamine-using women require drug-free status to acknowledge their unintended pregnancies. Thus, it was social institutions such as the criminal justice system, child welfare system, and/or substance abuse treatment that brought detoxification and confirmation of their pregnancies, leading to the possibility of accepting the reality of their pregnancies. Conclusion: This study has generated a deeper understanding of methamphetamine-using women's intentions, or the lack thereof, and decision-making regarding pregnancy. The findings obviate the need for greater attention to preconception preparation, education to promote earlier recognition of pregnancy, and timely referral to substance abuse treatment for this vulnerable population. However, the authors recommend further research to corroborate the Reconciling Pregnancy process in a larger sample of methamphetamine-using women with greater diversity of addiction severity. In addition, findings suggest further investigation concerning the possibility of augmented effects of pregnancy hormones combined with methamphetamine during early pregnancy.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify a turning point for reconciling pregnancy among methamphetamine dependent women. Describe one coping measure utilized by methamphetamine-using women when faced with an unintended pregnancy.

Keywords: Pregnancy, Substance Abuse

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator for the research to be presented which was funded by NINR. I have had many years as a women's health care specialist and even though I am an early career investigator. This mentored research focuses on a topic of extensive study about substance abuse, in particular behaviors among methamphetamine users.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.