Children who face development risks due to maternal addiction during pregnancy require extra medical and psychosocial resources

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Aim: This study examined medical and psychosocial risk factors in children born to women with addiction problems during pregnancy and the children's needs for extra medical and psychosocial resources. Methods: Swedish midwives routinely screen pregnant women for drugs and alcohol and refer women with addictions to the Maternity and Child Healthcare Resource Team. We investigated the medical records of 127 children (51% girls) whose mothers were referred to the Resource Team from 2009 to 2015. Additional data were obtained from local child healthcare services (CHS), which provide routine paediatric care. Results: More than three-quarters (76%) of the children had prenatal exposure to alcohol and drugs, and 17% were born with withdrawal symptoms. The mothers had a high rate of psychiatric diagnoses (38%) and were more likely to smoke after delivery and less likely to breastfeed than the general population. However, adherence to the CHS programme was generally high. Additional visits to the nurse, referrals to specialists, collaboration meetings and reports of concerns to social services decreased when the children began attending ordinary CHS centres. Conclusion: Children born to women with addictions during pregnancy faced a high risk of developmental problems and should be offered additional CHS resources to minimise negative long-term consequences.


External organisations
  • University of Gothenburg
  • Västra Götalandsregionen
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Pediatrics


  • Alcohol, Drugs, Extra healthcare resources, Prenatal exposure, Withdrawal symptoms
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-105
Number of pages5
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch