The Maternal Lifestyle Study: Drug Use by Meconium Toxicology and Maternal Self-Report

George Washington University, Washington, Washington, D.C., United States
PEDIATRICS (Impact Factor: 5.47). 03/2001; 107(2):309-17. DOI: 10.1542/peds.107.2.309
Source: PubMed


The objective of this study was to describe drug use by pregnant women participating in the 4-site Maternal Lifestyle Study of in utero cocaine and/or opiate exposure.
Meconium specimens of 8527 newborns were analyzed by immunoassay with GC/MS confirmation for metabolites of cocaine, opiates, cannabinoids, amphetamines, and phencyclidine. Maternal self-report of drug use was determined by hospital interview.
The prevalence of cocaine/opiate exposure in the 4 sites was 10.7% with the majority (9.5%) exposed to cocaine based on the combination of meconium analysis and maternal self-report. However, exposure status varied by site and was higher in low birth weight infants (18.6% for very low birth weight and 21.1% for low birth weight). Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) confirmation of presumptive positive cocaine screens was 75.5%. In the cocaine/opiate-exposed group, 38% were cases in which the mother denied use but the meconium was positive. There was 66% agreement between positive meconium results and positive maternal report. Only 2% of mothers reported that they used only cocaine during pregnancy and mothers were 49 times more likely to use another drug if they used cocaine.
Accurate identification of prenatal drug exposure is improved with GC/MS confirmation and when the meconium assay is coupled with a maternal hospital interview. However, the use of GC/MS may have different implications for research than for public policy. We caution against the use of quantitative analysis of drugs in meconium to estimate the degree of exposure. Our study also highlights the polydrug nature of what used to be thought of as a cocaine problem.

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Available from: Marilyn A Huestis, Mar 26, 2014
    • "A history of maternal alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine use during the pregnancy was recorded during a hospital interview with the mother. These were considered background variables in both the exposed and unexposed groups (Lester et al., 2001). Self-reported cocaine , opiate, and other illicit drug use history was also obtained during the maternal interview. "
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    ABSTRACT: This was a prospective longitudinal multisite study of the effects of prenatal cocaine and/or opiate exposure on temperament in 4-month-olds of the Maternal Lifestyle Study ( N = 958: 366 cocaine exposed, 37 opiate exposed, 33 exposed to both drugs, 522 matched comparison). The study evaluated positivity and negativity during The Behavior Assessment of Infant Temperament (Garcia Coll et al., 1988). Parents rated temperament (Infant Behavior Questionnaire; Rothbart, 1981). Cocaine-exposed infants showed less positivity overall, mainly during activity and threshold items, more negativity during sociability items, and less negativity during irritability and threshold items. Latent profile analysis indicated individual temperament patterns were best described by three groups: low/moderate overall reactivity, high social negative reactivity, and high nonsocial negative reactivity . Infants with heavy cocaine exposure were more likely in high social negative reactivity profile, were less negative during threshold items, and required longer soothing intervention. Cocaine- and opiate-exposed infants scored lower on Infant Behavior Questionnaire smiling and laughter and duration of orienting scales. Opiate-exposed infants were rated as less respondent to soothing. By including a multitask measure of temperament we were able to show context-specific behavioral dysregulation in prenatally cocaine-exposed infants. The findings indicate flatter temperament may be specific to nonsocial contexts, whereas social interactions may be more distressing for cocaine-exposed infants.
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    • "Further, we have previously shown that our self-report substance use measures, with careful interviewer selection and training and attention to question format, identified a higher percentage of users than did urine screening (Richardson et al., 1999, 2006). Other researchers have shown this as well (Ashling et al., 1994; Fendrich et al., 2004; Lester et al., 2001; Rutherford et al., 2000; Zuckerman et al., 1989). We did collect biological samples from the 21-year offspring and those data also support this point: 95% of those offspring with positive urine screens for marijuana reported current use. "
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