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Pregnancy Health & Care
Once pregnancy is determined, clients should visit their GP to confirm the pregnancy, undergo a check-up and explore the care options.
Clients with substance use issues must be supported to disclose as much information as possible about their use, with you acting as advocate and guide, preparing the young person and care providers in advance to make the engagement as comfortable and non-judgmental as possible. Many hospitals will have specialist teams that deal exclusively with substance-use affected pregnancies, from both the medical and psycho-social perspectives.
The number and frequency of appointments the young person will need to attend will vary depending on which care option she chooses, or other health issues which may be present.
Ideally, the young woman will see a GP early in the pregnancy and attend regular check-ups during the whole period of the pregnancy.
Health and Nutrition
As the guide and supporter of a pregnant young woman, you have the opportunity to encourage and provide information to promote health and self-care.
The following links provide information which may be useful to both practitioner and client.
Alcohol and other drug use during pregnancy
While the quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption has different impacts on fetal development in different stages of pregnancy, the risks extend throughout gestation and the early years.
The risk of damage to the developing fetus is high during the early stage of pregnancy. Drinking through all three trimesters increases the risk of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). FASD can result in lifelong developmental disabilities for affected children.
Other increased risks from alcohol, tobacco and other drug use during pregnancy may include:
Intrauterine growth restriction
- Poor growth
- Low birth weight
- Small for gestational age
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Meconium stained amniotic fluid
- Premature rupture of the membranes
- Precipitate labour
- Preterm birth
- Miscarriage, stillbirth
- Neonatal death
- Neurodevelopmental problems in the infant
- Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
See the links below for details on: