Smoking tobacco or cannabis and consumption of alcohol during pregnancy increase the risk of numerous adverse outcomes. Antenatal smoking among Aboriginal women is 2-3 times the rate among non-Indigenous women, and although the prevalence of alcohol consumption is lower among Aboriginal women, the prevalence of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome is higher. We aimed to assess provider views and self-reported care with regard to use of tobacco, alcohol and cannabis by pregnant Aboriginal women in NSW.
Clinicians (Midwives, Aboriginal Health Workers and Doctors) providing antenatal care to women through the NSW Aboriginal and Maternal Infant Health program were mailed a self-completion questionnaire exploring: perceived prevalence of substance use; knowledge of risks of tobacco, alcohol and cannabis use during pregnancy; and attitudes to providing advice to pregnant women.
Completed surveys were returned by 69 of 103 (67%) eligible clinicians. The median estimate of use by women was 70% for tobacco and 30% for alcohol and cannabis, with wide variation between communities. Clinicians were generally aware that substance use was associated with severe consequences although there were some gaps in knowledge and misconceptions. Most considered giving cessation advice important, and most did so with every woman, but 20-25% did not. Comparisons between substances will be presented.
Addressing substance use during pregnancy is a critical step toward ‘Closing the Gap’. Results are being used to trial a culturally-specific and acceptable program to support pregnant Aboriginal women to decrease their substance use.
Quality of care: Indigenous health
Passey M, Gale J, Stirling J, Sanson-Fisher R. (2010). Caring for pregnant Aboriginal women: provider views on managing tobacco, alcohol and cannabis use. In: 2010 Primary Health Care Research Conference: Program & Abstracts. Primary Health Care Research and Information Service, Australia. phcris.org.au/conference/abstract/6764