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Psychosocial Interventions for Substance Use During Pregnancy

Brandon, Anna R. PhD, MSCS, ABPP

The Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing: July/September 2014 - Volume 28 - Issue 3 - p 169–177
doi: 10.1097/JPN.0000000000000041
Feature Articles: Continuing Education

Psychosocial and behavioral interventions are used to address substance use and dependence during pregnancy, having particular value when providers and pregnant women are seeking to minimize drug exposures to the fetus. Numerous factors, including difficulty recruiting participants and the ethical challenges to conducting randomized controlled trials with women during pregnancy, have limited research in this area. The existing literature, however, does contain early investigations into the practicality and efficacy of contingency management, motivational support, and cognitive behavioral therapies adapted for pregnant women. This article describes these approaches to treatment, summarizes programmatic examples, and highlights the role nurses may play with this special population.

Department of Psychiatry, Center for Women's Mood Disorders, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Department of Psychiatry, Neurosciences Hospital, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Corresponding Author: Anna R. Brandon, PhD, MSCS, ABPP, Department of Psychiatry, Neurosciences Hospital, 101 Manning Dr, CB 7160, Chapel Hill, NC 27599 (

Disclosure: The author has disclosed that she has no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Submitted for publication: February 9, 2014; accepted for publication: April 29, 2014.

© 2014 by Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.