Medical Provider Perceptions of Breastfeeding Women Who Use Recreational Marijuana
Salisbury, Kathleen W
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University of Washington ABSTRACT Medical Provider Perceptions of Breastfeeding Women Who Use Recreational Marijuana Kathleen W. Salisbury Chair of Supervisory Committee: Clarence Spigner, Professor Department of Health Services Objective: To examine medical provider perceptions of breastfeeding women who use recreational marijuana and identify common themes in provider responses. Design: Qualitative research study utilizing a semi-structured interview guide. Setting: Providers who participated were recruited and their responses to the semi-structured interview guide were collected in the Puget Sound area of Washington State between April and June of 2016. Participants: Participants were medical providers who work with pregnant or breastfeeding women and their children; participants included family practice physicians, pediatricians, obstetricians, midwives, and lactation professionals. Data Analysis: The participants’ written responses were carefully reviewed and similar words and phrases were coded and grouped into specific categories. Common themes within the participant responses emerged from these categories. Results: From analysis of participant responses, three major themes emerged from eight broader themes. The eight broad themes included: provider thoughts on the benefits of breastfeeding for mother and child, medical marijuana use, parents’ disclosure of marijuana use, risks to infants, benefits of breastfeeding versus risk, social service involvement, specific concerns about maternal recreational marijuana use, and provider access to professional education. The three major themes that emerged from the broader themes are: providers strongly agree breastfeeding is important for maternal and child health and bonding, providers have concerns about the health and safety of children whose mothers are using recreational marijuana while breastfeeding, especially brain growth and development, and providers expressed concerns about the lack of solid research on marijuana use and breastfeeding. Conclusion: Most participants agree that the benefits of breastfeeding may outweigh the potential risks of light maternal recreational marijuana use. However, nearly all participants discourage marijuana use during breastfeeding due to lack of research about the effects of use on children. Participants’ responses clearly show that more research regarding maternal marijuana use while breastfeeding is necessary to appropriately counsel parents on risks.
- Health services