Why health professionals need to stop judging pregnant women with addictions


Substance abuse by pregnant women is hardly uncommon according to the US National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Today we hear how the stigma that comes with pregnancy and substance abuse can put both mother and child at risk.

It's become one of society's most shocking taboos -- a pregnant woman who drinks, smokes or takes drugs. But the odious stain doesn't make it any easier for a woman to stop.

Watching a pregnant woman drink, smoke or take drugs can be shocking... but a new report says the stigma associated with substance abuse during pregnancy may also be harmful to mother and child.

Motherisk Helpline -- Resource for Alcohol and Substance Use During Pregnancy

It is almost impossible to quit for the sake of the baby without significant support and this report suggests pregnant women who drink, smoke or do drugs need compassion, not lectures.

  • Louise has experienced the stigma and knows just how hard it is to get help. She is a mother of three near Toronto and also a member of the Pathways to Healthy Families program at the Jean Tweed Centre in Ontario, a rehab and support centre for women and their families.

This segment was produced by The Current's Shannon Higgins. 

Listener Feedback: Rob Ford & Cigarette Butt Recycling

rob-ford-legal-action-thumbnail.jpgAnother sorry week at Toronto City Council as the Rob Ford saga continues. More apologies from the Mayor, but for some in Toronto city council, it's a song they've heard before.

Two Toronto city councillors spoke on The Current last Friday, about Mayor Rob Ford's status at city hall.

And, your comments are coming in fast and furious on twitter, email and Facebook.
Leslie Bronstein of Montreal had this to say:

"We are witnessing the effects of substance abuse that many Canadians live through. We must be careful not to label his whole personality with the character of the monster addiction. While his comments are odious, we still have to find some compassion."

On Facebook, we asked you whether Mayor Ford has hit a new low. And we got an earful. Colleen Sam Williams posted this:

"Until he recognizes that it's rock bottom, it isn't *his* rock bottom. I'm afraid he won't survive ths."

Jim Goode adds this:

"With Rob Ford "How low can you go" is a challenge he is up for."

But Paul Gifford pushed back with this:

" I'd vote for him. At least he is in meetings, balancing a budget, and not stealing from the tax payers, like most politicians."

cigarette-butt-thumbnail.jpgAlso, we got a lot of feedback on another story... yes, there are others.

Cigarette butts might not seem like a significant waste problem, but they're harmful to the environment. And the city of Vancouver has decided to try a novel approach to tackle the problem. It's the first city in North America to put in recycling receptacles for cigarette butts. Thursday we looked at the cigarette butt recycling program in Vancouver.

Catherine Bray of Surrey, BC commented on it:

"When I worked at the Provincial Courthouse, I watched people grind their butts into the cement rather than extinguish them in the large ashtray beside them. I came to believe the process of grinding them out is part of the smoking ritual."

Add your thoughts to anything you hear on The Current.

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