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ESTABLISHMENT OF A LIAISON SERVICE FOR PREGNANT OPIATE-DEPENDENT WOMEN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

S DAWE, C GERADA, J STRANG

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)867-871
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Addiction
Volume87
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1992

King's Authors

Abstract

A pregnancy liaison and outreach service was developed as part of a community drug team to attract pregnant drug-dependent women into treatment. Women were provided with information on harm reduction, safer drug use and offered treatment for drug dependence. In total, 43 women (45 pregnancies) presented to the service over a 30-month period. Thirty-four women began out-patient treatment of opiate dependence. There was a significant reduction in maternal methadone dose by delivery. Of the 45 pregnancies, four women had therapeutic abortions, two first trimester and two second trimester spontaneous abortions and 34 live births (three women remained untraceable). All the pregnancies that continued to the third trimester proceeded uneventfully with a consequent live birth. Mean gestational age was 37.9 +/- 3.7 weeks, mean birth weight was 2863 +/- 526 g, 10 of the babies were small for gestational age. Fifteen babies required medication for neonatal withdrawal symptoms; mothers whose babies exhibited withdrawal symptoms were using significantly higher doses of methadone at delivery than mothers whose babies did not withdraw. The importance of providing this type of service for women drug users in the 1990s is discussed.

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