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The Importance of Initial Encounter
The initial encounter is crucial in engaging a woman into care; the chief goal is to establish rapport. Ask her what she needs and respect her answers. This may be as simple as offering something to eat or providing reassurance that you will take care of her and her baby. Respect a woman’s autonomy without argument or judgement.

By providing non-judgemental care, you will support a woman’s self-determination. Recognize that “disruptive” behaviour may be a reaction to past negative experiences with the health care system.

Caring for pregnant women with problematic substance use may be challenging. Being less “intrusive” on the first visit may actually ensure that she comes back for subsequent visits, ultimately optimizing prenatal care.

Information on the general care of pregnant women using any substances is available, including: initial clinic encounter, management of medical emergency, approach to care, follow-up visits, infectious diseases, and drug toxicology testing.

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Site last edited: June 2010
The Lawson Foundation