Photo Quote and Highlights from NIH Report

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Some highlights from the National Institute of Health's report include:

"Punitive policies have indeed had some chilling effect on women’s help-seeking behavior by discouraging women from accessing prenatal care or leading them to skip appointments, and by motivating women who did attend appointments to withhold medically relevant information about their substance use. Some women were honest with medical professionals but then experienced poor treatment, making them less likely to be honest again in the future.”

  • “I would never advise somebody to have a child [at the hospital]. I thought I was helping my child by being honest during my pregnancy, I thought I was helping him if I was honest with my doctors. No, I wasn’t. All I did was damage that relationship and our early bonding by letting them have that “in” to keep him from us. We could’ve, and we would have, taken better care of him than what they did, leaving him in his bassinet with a million other babies in there and not enough people to take care of all the babies.”
  • “My third child, I had no prenatal care. Because I was taking drugs, well, not drugs-drugs, I was down there smoking on marijuana and drinking liquor. And they told me if they see THC or something like that in my system, then protective services would get involved. So I didn’t go to no care for her, none.”

“Twenty-two women (73.3%) reported that during their pregnancies they had been afraid of being identified as substance-users. The scenarios of which they were most afraid were testing positive for substances at prenatal visits or after delivery, losing custody of their newborns and/or their older children, and experiencing criminal justice consequences for their substance use.”

  • "The most common strategy employed by women afraid of detection was avoidance of medical care (n = 12, 54.5%). This strategy included scheduling visits around their substance use so that any tests would come up negative, skipping some visits, or avoiding prenatal care altogether."
  • "Research repeatedly demonstrates that substance-using women who receive prenatal care experience more positive birth outcomes and have greater opportunities for other health promoting interventions than women who do not receive care… By adopting policies that scare women away from treatment, clinics and health organizations lose the opportunity to intervene and promote maternal and infant health.”

Follow the "Source" link for the full article from the National Institute of Health.