Health Status and Birth Outcomes Among Pregnant Women in Substance Abuse Treatment

Benita J. Walton-Moss, Linda Comer McIntosh, Jessica Conrad, Erika Kiefer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Purpose: We sought to examine the physical and mental health status and low birthweight and preterm birth among low-income pregnant women in substance abuse treatment. Methods: A prospective correlational design was used with 84 pregnant women enrolled in a university-affiliated, comprehensive, hospital-based substance abuse treatment program. The majority of the sample reported heroin as their primary substance of abuse. Results: Approximately 39% of the infants were born preterm and 27.5% were low birthweight. Poorer perception of current health, cocaine as the primary substance of abuse, and number of prior substance abuse treatment admissions were independently associated with preterm birth. Being African American and a poorer perception of current health were independently associated with low birthweight. Conclusion: Asking about perceptions of their current health is a useful addition to comprehensive assessment for pregnant women with substance abuse problems in any setting. Further knowledge of women's physical and mental health status will improve identification of those who are at even greater risk in a group at high risk overall.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-175
Number of pages9
JournalWomen's Health Issues
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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