Anex recently held forums to discuss the complex issues surrounding illicit drug use, pregnancy and parenting. The forums were conducted by Anex and the Women’s Alcohol and Drug Services, Royal Women’s Hospital. It was funded by the Victorian Department of Health.
Pregnancy and parenthood are major life events that create a wide range of emotions for women, their partners and family.
Illicit drug use can add further stress to an already challenging situation, giving rise to complex issues and experiences.
Research conducted by Anex shows that women who are pregnant or parenting and using illicit drugs are often isolated from mainstream health services and community support. They do not have ready access to accurate information, or know how to find and link with good pregnancy health care.
Often women and their partners fear discrimination, judgement and the involvement of authorities. They may not access health services because of ignorance or fear.
Women using illicit drugs and/or alcohol have special physical and emotional health needs which must be carefully managed to ensure both mother and child are healthy.
- Drug use and pregnancy
- Choices and decisions
- Key issues in providing care to pregnant women who are using illicit drugs
- Effects of drugs on the unborn child
- Child protection issues
- Working on the front line
- Linking with services – advocacy and collaboration
- Building in support for parenting
Anex has produced a booklet ‘Keeping mum and baby happy and healthy’ which is for women and their partners who are pregnant, parenting and using illicit drugs. The booklet addresses the key issues for parents and helps them to understand the issues and access support and care successfully. Printed copies of the booklet will be discussed and distributed at the forums.