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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24870

Title: Methodological Examination of Screening Prenatal Exposure to Alcohol and Illicit Substances
Authors: Sarkar, Moumita
Advisor: Koren, Gideon
Department: Medical Science
Keywords: screening
alcohol
pregnancy
illicit substances
Issue Date: 1-Sep-2010
Abstract: Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is the leading non-genetic cause of brain damage. In an effort to reduce alcohol-exposed pregnancies, steps are needed to identify at risk women as early as possible so that appropriate intervention can occur. The objective of this dissertation was to examine screening methods validated in identifying pregnant women at risk for consuming alcohol and illicit drugs during pregnancy. A systematic review identified three main approaches including maternal self-report, use of standardized questionnaires and detection via biological markers. Since most screening tools were developed in alcoholic women, it was important to examine performance in problem drinkers. Alcohol screening tools (ASQ), currently the best method of predicting prenatal problem drinking, were not effective in a cohort representative of problem drinkers. ASQ performance improved minimally, using higher thresholds, but not enough to be used alone. Provider’s knowledge of complexities inherent in women under their care is an important component in screening. As illicit drug use is an important predictor of problem drinking, identifying maternal risk factors associated with substance use was necessary. Increased rates of STD’s, untreated psychiatric disorders, binge drinking and heavy smoking were all identified as predictors of prenatal methamphetamine (MA) use. These factors, combined with high rates of unplanned pregnancies have serious adverse implications for the fetus. The most widely used method to screen for illicit substance use is based on a practice-based approach that relies heavily on maternal self-report. Most providers do not ask about alcohol and substance use in the absence of a high index of suspicion due to the assumption that patient will deny use. But evidence suggests that maternal account can be accurate in a supportive environment. The last study examines the agreement between self-reported data, in comparison to illicit drug use based on positive hair test results. A reasonable agreement between the two approaches of identification demonstrates that maternal self-report can be reliable in women who are motivated enough to seek prenatal care. No single approach is sufficient to effectively identify at risk women. However, combining two or more methods will improve screening and help reduce the number of alcohol-exposed pregnancies.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24870
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Institute of Medical Science - Doctoral theses

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