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J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2009 Apr;31(4):331-339. doi: 10.1016/S1701-2163(16)34150-0.

Alcohol and drug screening of newborns: would women consent?

Author information

1
Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary and Calgary Health Region, Calgary AB.
2
Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary and Calgary Health Region, Calgary AB; Department of Paediatrics, University of Calgary and Calgary Health Region, Calgary AB.
3
Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary and Calgary Health Region, Calgary AB.
4
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Calgary and Calgary Health Region, Calgary AB.
5
Department of Paediatrics, University of Calgary and Calgary Health Region, Calgary AB.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To examine the conditions under which mothers would consent to alcohol and drug screening of their infants, and to identify predictors of screening consent.

METHODS:

A cross-sectional survey was administered in person by trained research assistants on the postpartum units of three hospitals in a large Canadian urban centre over four months. The survey was administered to 1509 mothers (78.4% of those eligible) who were fluent in English and had given birth within the preceding 48 hours.

RESULTS:

Mothers indicated that they would consent to screening of their newborn (1369/1460, 93.8%), and thought all mothers should consent if infants at risk would be more likely to receive effective treatment (1440/1476, 97.6%). Respondents believed that they would consent to screening if they were provided the following information: what would happen if the infant sample was positive for prenatal exposure (1431/1476, 97%); who would have access to the information (1377/1476, 93.4%); how effective medical care would be for the child (1435/1476, 97.4%); and the likelihood that a baby with a positive screen would have a problem (1444/1476, 98.1%). Self-reported alcohol use did not decrease willingness to consent. In a multivariate model, belief that universal screening would not make women feel discriminated against was a significant predictor of consent (adjusted OR 5.9; 95% CI 3.3-10.6).

CONCLUSION:

Mothers would support a universal newborn alcohol and drug screening program if there was evidence that screening could lead to effective treatment for the mother and baby, and if appropriate resources were available.

PMID:
19497152
DOI:
10.1016/S1701-2163(16)34150-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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