Tsakiridis I, Oikonomidou AC, Bakaloudi DR, Dagklis T, Papazisis G, Chourdakis M. Substance Use During Pregnancy: A Comparative Review of Major Guidelines. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2021 Oct;76(10):634-643. doi: 10.1097/OGX.0000000000000943. PMID: 34724075.
Importance: Substance use during pregnancy is a major health issue for both the mother and the fetus, but it also represents an important public health concern.
Objective: The aim of this review was to summarize and compare recommendations from recently published guidelines on substance use during pregnancy and especially regarding alcohol, smoking, and drug use.
Evidence acquisition: A descriptive review of guidelines from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists on substance use was conducted. Regarding the term “substance use,” the most recently published Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition substances were used.
Results: All the reviewed guidelines recommend appropriate counseling and screening women regarding alcohol, smoking, and drug use during the antenatal period, while the management options vary. More specifically, the prompt management of alcohol dependence is emphasized by all the guidelines except from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, which makes no recommendation upon. The use of alcohol during breastfeeding should be avoided. Regarding smoking cessation, all guidelines recommend the use of certain psychosocial, behavioral interventions, and pharmacotherapy. All the guidelines, except the one from the WHO, suggest screening drug users for coexistent sexually transmitted infections. Brief interventions are considered beneficial, while a gradual decrease in benzodiazepines is suggested, as well as the discontinuation of marijuana and methamphetamine use. However, there is controversy regarding breastfeeding in those women as the WHO recommends in favor, whereas the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend against this practice. Finally, all the guidelines state that, following delivery, close monitoring of the neonate is needed.
Conclusions: The diversity of guidelines’ recommendations concerning substance use reflects the different ways of the management of pregnant women during routine antenatal care due to absence of strong evidence. More research in the areas of dispute may allow the adoption of an international consensus, in order to early detect and appropriately manage pregnant women with harmful addictions.
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