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Obstetrician–gynecologists’ practices and attitudes on substance use screening during pregnancy



To describe obstetrician–gynecologists’ practices and attitudes related to substance use screening in pregnant patients.

Study design

A 2017 cross-sectional survey assessed US obstetrician–gynecologists’ (n = 462; response rate = 34%) practices (substance use screening frequency and methods) and attitudes (practice priority of screening, confidence in treating, and responsibility statements). Chi-squared tests and adjusted modified Poisson regression were used to estimate associations between practices and attitudes.


Of 353 respondents with screening information, 79% frequently screen for substance use and 11% used a validated instrument. Confidence was the highest for treating pregnant patients using tobacco (81%). Respondents whose practices make it a high priority to screen for all substances were 1.2 times as likely to frequently screen as their counterparts (95% CI: 1.1–1.3).


Four out of five obstetricians–gynecologists reported a high frequency of substance use screening in pregnant patients. Findings highlight the importance of increasing priority of substance use screening by obstetrician–gynecologists.

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We would like to thank the respondents of the survey for their time and participation.


This work was funded by a contract to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC; #200-2015-M-63715). Authors LS, CS, and JS were in part supported by UA6MC19010 and UA6MC31609 from the Maternal Child Health Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

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Correspondence to Jean Y. Ko.

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The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HRSA, or the authors’ affiliated institutions.

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Ko, J.Y., Tong, V.T., Haight, S.C. et al. Obstetrician–gynecologists’ practices and attitudes on substance use screening during pregnancy. J Perinatol 40, 422–432 (2020).

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