Supporting Pregnant Women through Alcohol & Drug Use.

• What happens when a pregnant woman shows up to a clinic presenting symptoms of alcohol or drug use?
• Do primary healthcare providers have the tools, knowledge and resources required to adequately meet the needs of these women?

Recently, the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, at the University of New South Wales in Australia, published a best practice guide to help primary healthcare practitioners (HCPs) take the appropriate steps to identify, support and treat pregnant women who use substances.

The primary focus of this project was to find effective strategies to identify and assist pregnant women who use or are dependent on alcohol or other drugs. The project involved a comprehensive review of what treatment approaches have been shown to be effective, and included input from HCPs with expertise in addressing substance use during pregnancy.

• The project concluded that while HCPs are in a strong position to make a substantial difference to the health and well-being of both the pregnant women and the baby in these circumstances, they lack the knowledge and skills required to effectively identify and support these women. The report begins to address this gap by discussing the individual needs of women, depending on their unique situations, that can range from psychosocial treatment to pharmacological intervention.
• The guide provides lists and descriptions of important skills that HCPs should have or should acquire, and provides a logical set of steps to take in order to be most effective.

For more information, check out the full report or quick guide:
Supporting pregnant women who use alcohol or other drugs: A Guide for Primary Health Care Professionals
Quick Guide: Identifying women at risk from alcohol, smoking or other drug use during pregnancy