Perinatal Substance Abuse: Introduction | The Substance-Using Mother | The Substance-Exposed Infant | Conclusion | Key Points | References
The perinatal period should be regarded as a
continuum that extends from the beginning of a woman's
pregnancy through delivery and the first month of a child's
life. Although in this chapter we discuss discrete drugs, clinicians must
be aware that the use of any psychoactive drug during pregnancy
may mean that other psychoactive agents are being used concomitantly.
Perinatal effects may therefore reflect pharmacological effects
of individual agents or the combined effects of multiple drugs.
In all cases, substance use during pregnancy must be considered
to be high risk from general medical, obstetric, neonatal, pediatric,
and psychosocial standpoints. It is extremely important, however,
to recognize that providing comprehensive, supportive, nonjudgmental
care for the pregnant woman and her family in a well-integrated,
multidisciplinary setting offers a unique opportunity to restructure
the woman's life in a positive direction.