Substance Abuse Treatment in Pregnancy Reduces Complications
A recent study has revealed that mother’s who were treated successfully for substance abuse problems during routine obstetric visits almost entirely removed related risks posed to their child. According to the study the risks for preterm labor, stillbirth, and placental abruption were the same for both women who were successfully treated for substance abuse and for those that did not have substance abuse problems. Their children were still at risk for low birth weight; however, all other risks were drastically reduced after receiving treatment. Screening for substance abuse problems at routine obstetric appointments should be the gold standard, researchers explained. The following is an excerpt of an article from Medpage Today that reviews the findings:
These findings from a large observational study of women insured through Kaiser Permanente Northern California suggest that integration of substance abuse treatment into obstetric care should be the gold standard, the researchers said.
Before Kaiser Permanente started this program, women with substance abuse problems were counseled to stop and referred to outside programs but generally didn’t keep those appointments, the researchers noted.
Having someone in the clinic who specializes in both pregnancy and substance abuse treatment “affords women easy access to the program by removing both the physical and emotional barriers that can be overwhelming during pregnancy,” they wrote.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends universal screening for substance abuse in pregnancy with a brief intervention and referral to treatment within the department for those who test positive.
At the 21 Kaiser Permanente obstetric clinics included in the study, all women were screened for drugs and alcohol with a questionnaire at the first prenatal visit along with urine toxicology testing for those who consented.