Many women with SUDs fear the legal and criminal consequences for them and their baby – like ending up in jail or having their babies taken away from them – if they disclose their substance use to their provider, so they skip appointments and avoid prenatal care.
According to the Guttmacher Institute (2020):
• 23 states, as well as the District of Columbia, consider substance use during pregnancy to be child abuse under civil child-welfare statutes.
• 25 states, as well as the District of Columbia, require healthcare professionals to report suspected prenatal substance use.
• 8 states require healthcare professionals to test women for prenatal drug exposure if they suspect substance use.