Objective: To determine the prevalence of tobacco, alcohol, marijuana and cocaine use among mothers giving birth at the Mt Hope Women’s Hospital.
Methods: All mothers giving birth at the Mt Hope Women’s Hospital between March 1, 2008 and May 1, 2009 were invited to participate. A questionnaire was administered to elicit reported use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and cocaine. A meconium sample was collected from each newborn and analysed for the presence of cocaine and marijuana metabolites using Direct ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) Kits (Immunalysis Corporation).
Results: Of 839 mothers who enrolled in the study, 760 (91%) completed the questionnaire and 630 (75%) meconium samples were analysed. Maternal age ranged from 14 to 41 years. Fourteen per cent (n = 106) of respondents admitted to some form of substance use: alcohol, 52, tobacco, 52 and marijuana, two. None admitted to cocaine use but four meconium samples tested positive for cocaine and 14 for marijuana.
Conclusion: The prevalence of reported tobacco and alcohol use was the same (7%) and there was under-reporting of use of marijuana (two versus 14 found on analysis) and cocaine (none versus four on analysis). Meconium analysis for cocaine and marijuana should be done when there is a suspicion of drug use by the mother.