Pregnant Women

Approximately 5.1% of pregnant women age 15 to 44 were current users of illicit substances in 2008. Compared with nonpregnant women, the rate of drug use is significantly lower for all age groups, with the exception of adolescent women 15 to 17 years old. The rate of illicit substance use was higher among pregnant adolescents age 15 to 17 compared to same-age nonpregnant adolescents (21.6% vs. 12.9%). Use of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana, MDMA, inhalants, and nicotine during pregnancy has been associated with adverse outcomes such as intrauterine growth retardation, delayed cognitive development, and difficulty with attention and learning. Effects vary by substance ingested, quantity and frequency of ingested drug or drugs, and stage of fetal development when ingestion occurs. Currently, methadone maintenance is the treatment of choice for opiate dependency during pregnancy, although buprenorphine has been used when methadone is not available. Newborns are monitored for signs of withdrawal and treated if symptoms are noted.

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