08 Aug Depression Major Factor Behind Drug Use During Pregnancy
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jamie A. Seabrook, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, School of Food and Nutritional Sciences
Brescia University College at Western University
Adjunct Research Professor, Dept of Paediatrics, Western University
Adjunct Associate Professor, Dept of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Western University
Scientist, Children’s Health Research Institute
Scientist, Lawson Health Research Institute
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis are the most commonly used substances during pregnancy. High alcohol consumption has been linked with preterm birth, and tobacco and/or cannabis use is associated with low birth weight. Much of what we know about predictors of drug use during pregnancy comes from the United States and Australia, with limited studies in Canada.
The objective of our study was therefore to assess the relative effects of socioeconomic, demographic, and mental health risk factors associated with drug use during pregnancy.
Our retrospective cohort study consisted of 25,734 pregnant women from Southwestern Ontario. We found that maternal depression was the top risk factor associated with all three substances. Compared to women who were not depressed during their pregnancy, women who were depressed were 2.2 times more likely to use alcohol (95% CI: 1.6, 2.9), 1.7 times more likely to smoke tobacco (95% CI: 1.5, 2.0), and 2.6 times more likely to use cannabis (95% CI: 2.0, 3.4).
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: The findings from our study speak to the importance of mental health awareness for pregnant women and advocacy of mental health programs for those at-risk. Given that depression is the most common mental disorder throughout pregnancy, and that antenatal depression is correlated with preterm birth, excessive infant crying, and offspring mental health problems, interventions should aim to improve mental health early in pregnancy, ideally even pre-pregnancy.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Future research should consider the severity and timing of maternal depression in its relationship with substance use during pregnancy. Additionally, randomized controlled trials with sufficient samples sizes are needed to examine the impact of complementary and alternative therapy for treatment of prenatal depression.
We have nothing to disclose.
J Neonatal Perinatal Med. 2019;12(2):179-187. doi: 10.3233/NPM-1814.
Predictors of drug use during pregnancy: The relative effects of socioeconomic, demographic, and mental health risk factors.
Brown RA, Dakkak H, Gilliland J, Seabrook JA
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