Contraception needs of women attending drug and alcohol treatment centres
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Contraception needs of women attending drug and alcohol treatment centres

Rosie Mundt-Leach Head of nursing, Addictions Clinical Academic Group, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

A survey of women who access services exposes the need for more focused intervention on the subject of pregnancy and sexual health, says Rosie Mundt-Leach

Although women using drug and alcohol services are at higher risk of unplanned pregnancies and poorer pregnancy outcomes than women in the general population, they are less likely to access mainstream sexual health services.

This UK audit found that few clients of treatment centres who were planning pregnancy were adopting preconceptual health-improvement measures, such as stopping smoking and taking folic acid. Although most of the women were not planning pregnancy, many were having unprotected sexual intercourse.

Services should break down taboos and stigma around discussing women’s pregnancy plans and their attitudes, increase pregnancy testing, assess sexual health needs and provide opportunities for discussion of the issues and education.

Mental Health Practice. 17, 6, 29-34. doi: 10.7748/mhp2014.


Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 11 January 2013

Accepted: 23 August 2013

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