PCAP is built on the idea that preventing prenatal substance exposure requires either motivating women to stop using substances during pregnancy or helping women who struggle to abstain from substances avoid subsequent pregnancies. The model incorporates concepts from three theories:
- Relational theory, which holds that a woman’s sense of connectedness to others is central to her growth, development, and self-concept.
- The stages of change approach, which accepts that ambivalence toward changing addictive behavior is normal and that clients may be at different stages of readiness.
- Harm reduction theory, which maintains there is a continuum of substance addiction and the goal is to help a client move from excess to moderation and eventually to abstinence.