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Legal and Illegal Drug Consumption in Pregnant Women

Raquel Magri

Magri, Raquel; Suarez, Hector; Miguez, Hugo; Parodi, Verónica; Menendez, Adriana; Umpierrez, Quimico EleuterioVQ Foundation Uruguay/ VQ Foundation Uruguay/ VQ Foundation Uruguay/ Argentina/ Universidad de la republica Medical School Uruguay/ Universidad de la republica Medical School Uruguay/ Universidad de la Republica Chemistry School Uruguay

The objectives of this study were to estimate the prevalence and consumption of drugs during pregnancy; investigate information provided by doctors concerning risks involved in alcohol and drug consumption during pregnancy in order to review State applied policies; and to contribute toward the estimation of human, social and economic costs produced by problematic consumption of drugs. The study included births in the two main public hospitals in Uruguay (50 percent of all births in Montevideo). The coincidental sample included 900 cases (births produced during May 2005). The objective population were mothers from low and middle-to-low socio-economic levels, with lower than average education and lacking private health services. The study was conducted using a face-to-face survey performed within 48 hours after birth by trained personnel. Perinatal registries were taken from hospital archives. Nine-hundred meconium samples are to be tested for alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, amphetamines, marijuana, opiates, benzodiazepines and caffeine; once available, these results will allow validation of the survey’s results (by Toronto’s Sick Children’s Hospital). Preliminary results showed that 41.3 percent of the women consumed tobacco during pregnancy. Half smoked six or more cigarettes daily, 36.8 percent consumed alcohol during pregnancy, 44 percent consumed alcohol or tobacco during pregnancy and 16.7 percent consumed both. One-third of physicians controlling the pregnancies warned their patients about risks associated with tobacco (34 percent of all physicians) and alcohol (27 percent) consumption. Additionally, 16.3 percent consumed tranquilizers during pregnancy, 1.4 percent consumed illegal drugs during pregnancy (marijuana and cocaine paste), 8.9 percent didn’t control their pregnany, and babies belonging to smoking mothers presented statistically with lower birth weights. Thirty percent of all births were planned. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) prevalence as other studies will be carried out as soon as meconium studies are received from Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children and Pathology from stillbirths and newborns who died in ICU are completed.

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Latin America & Caribbean
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