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S47.04 - Substance dependence and pregnancy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 April 2020

N. Ebner
Affiliation:
Medical University, Vienna, Austria
G. Fischer
Affiliation:
Medical University, Vienna, Austria
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Abstract

The majority of women in drug treatment facilities are of childbearing age. According to a SAMHSA Report, four percent of women aged between 15 and 44, are pregnant while entering treatment systems. These women represent a challenging patient population, that is in need of a comprehensive model of care, consisting of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses and OBGYNs. Exposure to illegal substances during pregnancy may have consequences on the course of pregnancy and neonatal outcome. The fact that almost all patients showing up are also nicotine-dependent, should be taken into account, as neonatal withdrawal symptoms can be worsened. Furthermore, substance dependent women often find themselves in a situation of psychosocial instability. Prevalence of co-morbid somatic (e.g. hepatitis C, malnutrition) and psychiatric disorders (PTSD, depression)is high. As these pregnancies are rated as “high-risk”, prenatal checks should be undergone frequently. Recommended treatment for opioid-dependent, pregnant women is maintenance therapy with opioids. Post-delivery, 55 – 94% of infants exposed to substances in utero, may develop a neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Incidence, time of onset and severity of NAS are associated with type of substances used. A standardized procedure of assessment and monitoring of NAS, as well as pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment of these neonates is highly needed. By the means of a multi-professional treatment approach, the length of hospital stay may be shortened dramatically. In regard to a better future outcome, special aftercare (medical care plus psychosocial support) for mothers and infants should be provided, as well as further research.

Type
April 2008 Symposium: Drug dependence and gender
Copyright
Copyright © European Psychiatric Association 2008

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