Background/Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the risks and benefits of telehealth use during the prenatal period. With the increasing use of technology to provide healthcare, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical to examine the implications this care modality has on individuals and the community. Theoretical Framework: Katharine Kolcaba’s Comfort Theory was applied to the topic of telehealth use in the prenatal period. This theory explains that there is an immediate experience of strengthening when relief, ease, and transcendence are met and that an individual is more likely to exhibit health-seeking behaviors when comfort in these areas is achieved. Methods: 21 research articles were critically reviewed in order to determine the risks and benefits of telehealth use during the prenatal period. Search engines used included CINAHL & PubMed. Keywords used in the search process included “telehealth”, “pregnancy”, “obstetrics”, and “midwifery”. Results/Findings: Telehealth use during the prenatal period was found to increase patient satisfaction as well as provide equal or enhanced effectiveness and safety. It was also found that there is a lack of research focusing solely on how telehealth use during the antenatal period may contribute to health disparities. Some common barriers are noted which include access to internet or cell phone and language limitations. Implications for Research and Practice: While telehealth has many benefits, more evidence is needed to determine whether integration of such technologies into the prenatal care setting contributes to or improves health disparities. The provider should be mindful that some patients may not have access to certain technologies and that such modalities may not be able to be used by some due to language barriers.
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Goblisch, A. M., & Hand, T. L. (2021). Telehealth Use During the Prenatal Period: Strengths and Limitations [Masterʼs thesis, Bethel University]. Spark Repository. https://spark.bethel.edu/etd/233