Perinatal Substance Use

NPA cares about pregnant and parenting people who are substance dependent and their babies. An emerging body of evidence tells us how to deliver timely and appropriate perinatal care for this population. But it requires collaboration across time, settings, and disciplines. 

"While the perinatal period presents unique risks for those who are substance dependent and their babies, it is also a time when there are unique opportunities for positive intervention. As clinicians, mental health, and community health care providers, it is imperative that we understand the nature of perinatal substance use disorders and provide interventions and care that preserve the parent-infant dyad, promote parenting potential, and support the baby’s health and development." from the NPA Position Statement on Perinatal Substance Use, 2017

We believe that by working together we can improve the standard of care for these families and effect better outcomes. In 2015 the National Perinatal Association and our partners, National Advocates for Pregnant Women, hosted the symposium, Pregnant Women, Drug Use, and NAS: Experts Share Science & Strategies that Help Women, Babies, and Families.

We knew that in order to improve perinatal care and health policy we needed to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders. So we invited parents, providers, community leaders, policy makers, and family advocates to come together in search of interdisciplinary solutions.

In 2016 we convened the NPA Workgroup on Perinatal Substance Use with the goal of creating evidence-based, family-centered care recommendations for the support of drug using women and their families. 

In 2018 we presented our work at our March conference Perinatal Substance Use: Evidence-Based Solutions and Support for the Family at Loma Linda University Children's Hospital in Loma Linda, California.


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As a PRINCIPLED PROVIDER I believe in...


I believe that you are the expert on your body and your health. I commit to providing you with care that respects your right to self-determination. I acknowledge that there are barriers to accessing quality healthcare and that the medical environment is potentially traumatic. So I will do my best to reduce the imbalance of power that can exist between patients and providers.


I believe that it is my responsibility to help you assess your medical needs and create a care plan to meet those needs. I care about your wellbeing. So I will work with you to identify your unique risk factors and mitigate their negative consequences. I will help you to be as healthy as you can be, even when your choices are different from what I think you should choose.


I promote evidence-based medical care. I will give you as much information and guidance as you need to make educated decisions about your health care. I will work with you as you explore all your options, and together we will arrive at solutions that reflect your values and preferences.


I will promote transparency and collaboration. My ethical obligations as a provider require that I do no harm. So I commit to protecting your health information. If I am required by law to share the results of drug screenings or tests, I will advise you of that and we will work together to make a plan to help reduce the potential harm of that report.

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Free Resources

At NPA we know that the language that we use shapes the way we think. We want to change the way we talk about pregnancy and substance use. We encourage you to download, print, and share these with your community. We just ask that you please don't change the content or message in any way and please be sure to credit the NPA Workgroup on Perinatal Substance Use. If you are interested in adapting these materials for use by your program or agency, please contact Erika Goyer, NPA's Director of Communications and Perinatal Substance Use Co-Chair. 

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Kristy Love, Executive Director

P.O. Box 392 Lonedell, MO 63060

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