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Research Publications


Pregnancy and fetal loss reported by methamphetamine-using women

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Brecht ML1, Herbeck DM2.

To better understand substance use disorder treatment needs of pregnant and parenting women who use methamphetamine (MA), this paper describes pregnancy histories and fetal losses for women who were treated for MA use (N = 153) with reference to a national sample, and describes their drug use, sexual risk behaviors, and mental health status. MA users reported an average of 4.6 total pregnancies and 2.1 fetal losses, whereas women in a general population survey reported 3.2 and 1.2, respectively. Higher numbers of pregnancies and fetal losses were correlated with specific substance abuse and mental health problems including early sexual abuse and cognitive problems. The combination of MA users' especially high numbers of pregnancies, fetal losses, and rates of risk behaviors suggest high social and health care costs for this population. Prenatal care may provide a vector through which women can be connected to risk reduction interventions and gender-responsive treatment services addressing substance use and mental health needs.

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