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Matern Child Health J. 2013 May;17(4):667-76. doi: 10.1007/s10995-012-1046-3.

Prevalence of hospitalized live births affected by alcohol and drugs and parturient women diagnosed with substance abuse at liveborn delivery: United States, 1999-2008.

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CSR Incorporated, Arlington, VA 22201, USA.


To describe prevalence trends in hospitalized live births affected by placental transmission of alcohol and drugs, as well as prevalence trends among parturient women hospitalized for liveborn delivery and diagnosed with substance abuse problems in the United States from 1999 to 2008. Comparison of the two sets of trends helps determine whether the observed changes in neonatal problems over time were caused by shifts in maternal substance abuse problems. This study independently identified hospitalized live births and maternal live born deliveries from discharge records in the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, one of the largest hospital administrative databases. Substance-related diagnosis codes on the records were used to identify live births affected by alcohol and drugs and parturient women with substance abuse problems. The analysis calculated prevalence differences and percentage changes over the 10 years, with Loess curves fitted to 10-year prevalence estimates to depict trend patterns. Linear and quadratic trends in prevalence were simultaneously tested using logistic regression analyses. The study also examined data on costs, primary expected payer, and length of hospital stays. From 1999 to 2008, prevalence increased for narcotic- and hallucinogen-affected live births and neonatal drug withdrawal syndrome but decreased for alcohol- and cocaine-affected live births. Maternal substance abuse at delivery showed similar trends, but prevalence of alcohol abuse remained relatively stable. Substance-affected live births required longer hospital stays and higher medical expenses, mostly billable to Medicaid. The findings highlight the urgent need for behavioral intervention and early treatment for substance-abusing pregnant women to reduce the number of substance-affected live births.

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