Experiences of Women with Substance Use Disorder Regarding the Pregnancy Process


  • Hacer YALNIZ DİLCEN Bartın Üniversitesi
  • Yasemin BILIŞLI




Pregnancy, Healthcare Services , Stigma, Substance Use


Objective: Substance use in pregnancy is a critical public health problem that is associated with several harmful maternal and fetal outcomes. This study was conducted to investigate the pregnancy, delivery experiences of women with substance use disorder (SUD) and the problems they encounter while using healthcare services.

Method: In the study, the qualitative research design of case study was used. This study was conducted between February 2019 and 2020 at a SUD clinic. The method of purposive sampling was used in the study. The population of the study consisted of the files of female patients who visited the clinic in the period of 01.01.2010-2018, and these files were retrospectively analyzed. The patients who turned out to be Beta HCG-positive in these files constituted the population of the study. The study was completed with 8 patients. The data of the study were collected between 01.02.2019 and 2020. The data collection instrument consisted of two parts including a “Participant Information Form” on the descriptive information of the women and a “Semi-Structured Interview Form”. The interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed by removing all identifying information. Afterwards, the interview data were coded, interpreted and reported.

Results: The pregnant women with substance use stated that their pregnancy was unplanned and found out late, most stated they were afraid when they learned about their pregnancy due to some reasons, most said they sought help from healthcare personnel, half stated they could not receive help from healthcare personnel, and some said they were exposed to the stigmatizing behaviors of healthcare personnel.

Conclusion: Pregnant women using substances encounter many obstacles in receiving and continuing treatment during their pregnancy and after delivery.

Author Biography


Doçent Dr. Sosyal Bilimler Meslek Yüksekokulu, Akdeniz Üniversitesi


Anstice, S., Strike, C. J., Brands, B. (2009). Supervised methadone consumption: client issues and stigma. Subst Use Misuse. 44(6),794–808.

Aydın, M. (2016). Five Qualitative Research Approaches, Qualitative Research Methods: Qualitative Research and Research Design According to Five Approaches 3. Translation from Print, M. Bütün (ed.) Selçuk Beşir Demir, Siyasal Kitabevi, Ankara.

Black, K., Stephens, C., Haber, P., Lintzeris, N. (2012). Unplanned pregnancy and contraceptive use in women attending drug treatment services. Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 52(2), 146–50.

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT). (2015). Substance abuse treatment: Addressing the specific needs of women. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No:51. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 15-4426. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Finer, L. B, & Zolna, M. R. (2016). Declines in unintended pregnancy in the United States, 2008–2011. The New England Journal of Medicine, 374(9), 843–852. Doi:10. 1056/NEJMsa1506575.

Fletcher, J. M. (2012). The effects of teenage childbearing on the short- and long-term health behaviors of mothers. Journal of Population Economics, 25, 201–218.

Forray, A., Merry, B., Lin, H., Ruger, J. P., Yoker, K. A. (2015). Perinatal substance use: a prospective evaluation of abstinence and relapse. Drug Alcohol Depend. 150, 147–155. Doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.02.027

Gjesfjeld, C. D., Weaver, A. C., Schommer, K. (2012). Rural women's transitions to motherhood: understanding social support in a rural community. J Fam Soc Work. 15(5), 435–48.

Goodman, D. J., Saunders, E. C., Wolff, K. B. (2020). In their own words: a qualitative study of factors promoting resilience and recovery among postpartum women with opioid use disorders. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. 20, 178, 2-10. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-020-02872-5

Guttmacher Institute. (2016). Unintended pregnancy in the United States. Retrieved from https://www.guttmacher. org/fact-sheet/unintended-pregnancy-united-states.

Gyarmathy, V. A., Giraudon, I., Hedrich, D., Montanari, L., Guarita, B., Wiessing, L. (2009). Drug use and pregnancy – challenges for public health. Eur Surveill.14(9):33–36.

Heil, S. H., Jones, H. E., Arria, A., Kaltenbach, K., Coyle, M., Fischer, G., Martin, P. R. (2011). Unintended pregnancy in opioid-abusing women. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 40(2), 199–202. Doi:10.1016/j. jsat.2010.08.011.

Jack, S. (2008). Guidelines to support nurse-researchers reflect on role conflict in qualitative interviewing. Open Nurs J. 2, 58–62.

MacAfee, L. K, Harfmann, R. F., Cannon, L. M., Minadeo, L., Kolenic, G., Kusunoki, Y, & Dalton, V. K. (2020). Substance Use Treatment Patient and Provider Perspectives on Accessing Sexual and Reproductive Health Services: Barriers, Facilitators, and the Need for Integration of Care, Substance Use & Misuse, 55, 1, 95-107, Doi: 10.1080/10826084.2019.1656255

Mclafferty, S. (2015). Disease cluster detection methods: recent developments and public health implications Annals of Gis. 21, 127-133. Doi: 10.1080/19475683.2015.1008572

Metz, V., Köchl, B, & Fischer G. (2012). Should pregnant women with substance use disorders be managed differently? Neuropsychiatry, 2(1), 29–41. https://doi.org/10.2217/npy.11.74.

Minozzi, S., Amato, L., Bellisario, C, et al. (2013). Maintenance agonist treatments for opiate-dependent pregnant women. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;12: CD006318. 10.1002/14651858.CD006318.pub3

Morton, J., Konrad, S. C. (2009). Introducing a caring/relational framework for building relationships with addicted mothers. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 38(2), 206–213.

Ondersma, S. J., Simpson, S. M., Brestan, E. V., Ward, M. (2000). Prenatal Drug Exposure and Social Policy: The Search for an Appropriate Response. Child Maltreat. 5(2), 93-108. Doi: 10.1177/1077559500005002002.

Silva, S. A., Pires, A. P., Guerreiro, C., & Cardoso, A. (2012). Balancing motherhood and drug addiction: The transition to parenthood of addicted mothers. Journal of Health Psychology, 18(3), 359-367. Doi: 10.1177/1359105312443399.

Staff, J., Schulenberg, J. E., Maslowsky, J., Bachman, J. G., O’Malley, P. M., Maggs, J. L, & Johnston, L. D. (2010). Substance use changes and social role transitions: Proximal developmental effects on ongoing trajectories from late adolescence through early adulthood. Development and Psychopathology, 22, 917–932.

Stringer, K. L., Baker, E. H. (2018). Stigma as a barrier to substance abuse treatment among those with unmet need: an analysis of parenthood and marital status. J Fam Issues. 39(1), 3–27.

Tuten, M., Jones, H. E. (2003). A partner's drug-using status impacts women's drug treatment outcome. Drug Alcohol Depend. 70(3), 327–230.

Van Boekel, L. C., Brouwers, E. P. M., Van Weeghel, J, & Garretsen, H. F. L. (2013). Stigma among health professionals towards patients with substance use disorders and its consequences for healthcare delivery: Systematic review. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 131(1-2), 23–35.




How to Cite

YALNIZ DİLCEN, H., BILIŞLI , Y. ., & ERDOĞAN , A. . (2022). Experiences of Women with Substance Use Disorder Regarding the Pregnancy Process. WORLD WOMEN STUDIES JOURNAL, 7(1), 89–98. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7460095