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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU: Substance Use Treatment During Pregnancy Improves Birth Outcomes

A study co-authored by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher found that women with drug and alcohol use disorders (SUD) who received treatment for the condition had substantially better birth outcomes than untreated women, with reduced odds of premature births and low birth weight.

The study, in the Maternal and Child Health Journal, also found that, among more than 20,700 births to women with SUD from 2003 to 2007, one-third of the women did not receive any substance use treatment in the year leading up to the deliveries.

“Services for women with SUD who are or will become pregnant are inadequate even in Massachusetts, which provides a wide range of treatment modality options and venues,” the authors said. “Infant outcomes may be improved among women with SUD who receive treatment. The study findings should give hope to women with SUD, their families, and clinicians.”

The study found that 66 percent of mothers with SUD had received formal treatment pre-delivery. The primary types of substances used were alcohol (57 percent); crack/cocaine (39 percent); heroin, opiates, and/or methadone (39 percent); and cannabis (37 percent).

To read more about the study, go to: