Substance Use in Pregnancy: The Impact of Screening and Treatment on Improving Perinatal Outcomes and Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities

  • Suzanne Carlberg-Racich
  • Ellen Mason


Women’s use of alcohol and psychoactive substances before conception and during pregnancy is common and occurs in all ethnic groups, all socio-economic strata and all geographic regions of the U.S. The biologic and social effects of substance use on perinatal outcomes and on the long-term physical and psychological development of exposed children are not fully understood, despite active research for over three decades. Though substantial evidence exists to link substance use in pregnancy to a wide variety of adverse maternal, fetal and neonatal outcomes, it is often not possible to attribute a specific negative outcome directly to the effects of a particular substance. Many adverse outcomes are due to the effects of multiple drugs, drugs and alcohol used in combination, and these combined with concurrent tobacco use. Since smoking is the focus of another chapter in this volume, this chapter will focus primarily on the use of alcohol as well as illicit and illegal drugs during pregnancy. (Please see Box 12.1 for explanation of how these terms are used here).


Pregnant Woman Illicit Drug Prenatal Care Perinatal Outcome Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer US 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Midwest AIDS Training and Education Center (MATEC)University of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

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