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Drug and Alcohol Use in Pregnancy and Early Parenthood

Lookup NU author(s): Claire SmilesORCiD, Dr Ruth McGovernORCiD, Professor Eileen KanerORCiD, Professor Judith Rankin


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Drug and alcohol use during pregnancy is a complex public health issue. Women who use drugs and alcohol have poor reproductive health and poor contraceptive use and are at an increased risk of unplanned pregnancy. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy places the unborn child at risk of foetal alcohol syndrome and foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, whilst drug use during pregnancy increases the risk of neonatal abstinence withdrawal and lower birth weight and some may have long-term health and development impairments. Midwives and other healthcare professionals play an important role in supporting women through pregnancy; however, substance use can make this more challenging. Many women who use drugs during pregnancy report experiencing negative stereotyping and judgement from health and social care professionals. This, coupled with the stigma of using substances during pregnancy, is the biggest barrier to care. Despite this, many women who use drugs and alcohol are motivated to be ‘good’ mothers who love and care for their children. The health and social care outcomes for women who use drugs and alcohol rely on improving provision, which is inclusive and considerate of the needs of this population.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Smiles C, McGovern R, Kaner E, Rankin J

Editor(s): Xuereb RB; Jolene J

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Perspectives on Midwifery and Parenthood

Year: 2023

Pages: 107–120

Print publication date: 02/01/2023

Online publication date: 01/01/2023

Acceptance date: 01/01/2023

Publisher: Springer

Place Published: Cham


DOI: 10.1007/978-3-031-17285-4_9

Notes: 9783031172854 ebook ISBN.

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9783031172847