Bioanalytical procedures for monitoring in utero drug exposure

Anal Bioanal Chem. 2007 Aug;388(7):1455-65. doi: 10.1007/s00216-007-1228-9. Epub 2007 Mar 17.


Drug use by pregnant women has been extensively associated with adverse mental, physical, and psychological outcomes in their exposed children. This manuscript reviews bioanalytical methods for in utero drug exposure monitoring for common drugs of abuse in urine, hair, oral fluid, blood, sweat, meconium, amniotic fluid, umbilical cord tissue, nails, and vernix caseosa; neonatal matrices are particularly emphasized. Advantages and limitations of testing different maternal and neonatal biological specimens including ease and invasiveness of collection, and detection time frames, sensitivities, and specificities are described, and specific references for available analytical methods included. Future research involves identifying metabolites unique to fetal drug metabolism to improve detection rates of in utero drug exposure and determining relationships between the amount, frequency, and timing of drug exposure and drug concentrations in infant biological fluids and tissues. Accurate bioanalytical procedures are vital to defining the scope of and resolving this important public health problem.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chemistry Techniques, Analytical / methods*
  • Drug Monitoring / instrumentation
  • Drug Monitoring / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / analysis
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / metabolism
  • Placental Circulation
  • Pregnancy
  • Uterus


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations