Evidence review on alcohol and drug misuse in pregnant women published

Monday, 17 June 2013
As part of the Early Years Programme, a rapid review of the evidence base for interventions addressing alcohol and drug misuse in pregnant women has been published.
pregnancyThe report sets out the epidemiology of substance misuse in Wales and provides a review of the evidence for various interventions to identify substance misuse in pregnant women and ‘treat’ their abuse.
The current provision of support and services to pregnant women is outlined on a national scale and by health board area which illustrates differences across Wales.
The report concludes that there are many difficulties in determining the response to the significant problems associated with substance misuse during pregnancy due to a lack of knowledge and understanding in the area.
Dr Sarah Jones, consultant in public health and lead author of the report said, “There is a clear link between alcohol consumption and complications or problems during both pregnancy and the early years of the child. However, we found a lack of clear evidence demonstrating the outcomes for any given level of consumption leading to confusing messages to pregnant women about how much alcohol is safe to consume.
“One of the key recommendations of the report is that healthcare workers who come into contact with pregnant women should be given brief intervention training so pregnant women are given advice to moderate their drinking and supported when they try to do so.
 sarah jones
“Public Health Wales is already taking this recommendation forward with the alcohol team delivering alcohol brief intervention training to midwives.”
The report was produced as part of a series of rapid reviews of the evidence on topics of key importance to the health of pregnant women and early years. The report was written by Sarah Jones with the support from a number of Public Health Wales staff including the alcohol team, staff based in local public health teams and the ATTRACT team. When looking at substance misuse it does not take into account tobacco or caffeine but instead focuses on alcohol misuse and drug misuse.
Other topics include smoking cessation in pregnancy, maternal health, and obesity and nutrition in pregnancy. Further details are available at the Early Years Programme web pages http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/888/page/64189
Key document:
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