Socioeconomic Characteristics of Women with Substance Use Disorder during Pregnancy and Neonatal Outcomes in their Newborns: a National Registry Study from the Czech Republic


Substance use disorder (SUD) is associated with worse socioeconomic characteristics.
The characteristics are less favourable in illicit SUDs than in alcohol and sedatives
Neonates of women with SUD have higher risk of preterm birth and growth restriction.
Mother’s socioeconomic and lifestyle factors substantially influence the risk.
Only alcohol increased the risk of SGA after control for maternal characteristics.



Maternal substance use can pose a risk to the fetal health. We studied the background characteristics of women with substance use disorders (SUDs) and selected neonatal outcomes in their children.

Material and methods

A database-linkage study was performed. The sample consisted of pregnant women with a SUD during pregnancy (ICD-10 diagnosis F10-F19 except F17, n = 1710), women not diagnosed with a SUD (n = 1,511,310) in Czechia in 2000-2014, and their children. The monitored neonatal outcomes were gestational age, birth weight, preterm birth, and small-for-gestational age (SGA). Binary logistic regression adjusted for age, marital status, education, concurrent substance use, and prenatal care was performed.


Women with illicit SUDs were younger, more often unmarried, with a lower level of education, a higher abortion rate, a higher smoking rate, and lower compliance to prenatal care than women with a SUD related to alcohol, or sedatives and hypnotics (SH). Women with a SUD had worse socioeconomic situations, poorer pregnancy care, and worse neonatal outcomes than women without a SUD. After adjustment, we found no difference in SGA between the illicit SUD groups and the alcohol and the SH groups. The newborns from all SUD groups had a higher risk of SGA when compared to women without a SUD. However after adjustment, the difference remained significant just in the alcohol group (OR = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.4-2.6).


Mother’s SUD during pregnancy increased risk of fetal growth restriction as measured by SGA. The role of maternal socioeconomic and lifestyle factors for the risk of SGA was substantial.

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