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J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2017 Jul;30(14):1693-1698. doi: 10.1080/14767058.2016.1222369. Epub 2016 Sep 8.

Women's opinions of legal requirements for drug testing in prenatal care.

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a Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and.
b Center for Pediatric and Adolescent Comparative Effectiveness Research, Department of Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine , Indianapolis , IN , USA , and.
c Center for Bioethics, Indiana University , Indianapolis , IN , USA.



To explore women's attitudes and perceptions regarding legal requirements for prenatal drug testing.


Web-based survey of 500 US women (age 18-45) recruited from a market research survey panel. A 24-item questionnaire assessed their opinion of laws requiring doctors to routinely verbal screen and urine drug test patients during pregnancy; recommendations for consequences for positive drug tests during pregnancy; and opinion of laws requiring routine drug testing of newborns. Additional questions asked participants about the influence of such laws on their own care-seeking behaviors. Data were analyzed for associations between participant characteristics and survey responses using Pearson's chi-squared test.


The majority of respondents (86%) stated they would support a law requiring verbal screening of all pregnant patients and 73% would support a law requiring universal urine drug testing in pregnancy. Fewer respondents were willing to support laws that required verbal screening or urine drug testing (68% and 61%, respectively) targeting only Medicaid recipients. Twenty-one percent of respondents indicated they would be offended if their doctors asked them about drug use and 14% indicated that mandatory drug testing would discourage prenatal care attendance.


Women would be more supportive of policies requiring universal rather than targeted screening and testing for prenatal drug use. However, a noteworthy proportion of women would be discouraged from attending prenatal care - a reminder that drug testing policies may have detrimental effects on maternal child health.


Substance abuse; drug testing; neonatal abstinence syndrome; prenatal care

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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