Epidemiology and Effects of Substance Use in Pregnancy

J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2017 Oct;39(10):906-915. doi: 10.1016/j.jogc.2017.07.005.


Substance use during pregnancy has important implications for health care providers and policymakers and can negatively affect a woman's health and the health of her children. Understanding trends, patterns of use, and outcomes are critical to developing prevention campaigns, building awareness, and providing effective care. This review critically examines the current literature on substance use in pregnancy and during the postpartum period in terms of epidemiology, risk factors, and implications. The risk factors for substance use in pregnancy, the challenges associated with reporting these cases, and the adverse effects of common substances on maternal and fetal health are discussed.

Keywords: Substance use; cannabis; hallucinogens; opioids; pregnancy; stimulants.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*