Mandatory Drug Testing for Moms of Preemies and Babies with Birth Defects?



madatory drug testing of women miscarriage preemie birth defects

Should women who miscarry

be tested for drugs?

KnoxvilleDoula wrote a journal post that really caught my attention. It's about a bill on the table in Tennessee that would require women who miscarry, have premature babies, or have babies with birth defects to undergo mandatory drug testing.

According to State Representative Jim Hackworth, the bill's sponsor, "The original intent of this bill has always been directed toward helping those children who are born addicted receive adequate healthcare." However, that isn't written in the bill. What is currently written there? A list of reasons pregnant women might be tested for alcohol and drugs, including incomplete prenatal care, preterm labor of no obvious cause, and previously known alcohol or drug abuse.

The representative says one of his constituents e-mailed him the idea for the bill. She works at a hospital, and witnessed the effects on a baby born to a drug addicted mother. "It would have seizures just going through withdrawals and the nurses would talk about how the baby would just cry all night and they couldn't really console the baby," says Amanda Hutton.

I had a miscarriage and it was traumatic enough without somebody telling me I had to be tested for drugs. Similarly, I can't imagine women dealing with all the stress, worry, and exhaustion of having a preemie or a baby with birth defects having to undergo drug testing. I understand the need to protect and care for babies born addicted to drugs, but there has to be a better way.

What do you think? Would you support a law in your state that required drug testing of women who had a miscarriage or a preemie or a baby born with a birth defect?

postpartum recovery


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Ryans... RyansMommy7507

That is just crazy. My youngest was a premie born at 35 weeks. Alot of us already feel like we must have done something wrong for them to be born so soon. Then to drag us threw this would tear alot of us women apart.

Proud... Proudmumof2

I have never done drugs, rarely drink, and don't even smoke. My son was born 8 weeks premature because my placenta ruptured - it happens. Why the hell should I have to undergo drug testing because of something like that? What kind of criteria will be used aside from history and whether or not the child is premature? How premature is premature, anyway?

06-07mom 06-07mom

yep thats how it is here! my son was born 5 weeks early and we had to get tested.

cece4 cece4


sunsh... sunshine06

When I had my kids they took blood from me and the baby.  Why?  Hell if I know.  What's one more vile going to hurt?  I wouldn't have a problem with it because I don't do drugs.  They would just feel stupid when it came back negative.  Then I would send them back to the lab to figure out what really happened to my baby.  I do think that if you are going to test some you should test all.  Some mom's do drugs and the baby isn't a preemie or has any major defects.  Ive seen it happen.  I was amazed.

prinz... prinzesstephi

First of all, that would be cruel and unusual to an already stressed mother.  Second of all, it would open up a floodgate for outlawing abortions.  However wrong it may be, currently there is no laws against drinking or using drugs, specifically, during pregnancy.  For example, a mother who is smoking pot during pregnancy isn't subjected to child abuse charges.  Granted, CPS might get involved, but no criminal charges are pressed.  Thirdly, what would constitute a birth defect?  What about birth defects with no known causes, genetic birth defects, or birth defects that aren't known to be caused by drugs? Would those women still be subjected to unnecessary (and costly) drug testing?


Ya know if they want to just run the labs, they shouldnt even tell the mother.  Its hard enough going through a loss or a premature baby.  My son and my twins were born prematurely due to Severe-preeclampsia and suspected HELLP syndrome and severe IUGR, thats not something you can help and its certainly not something I took to make it happen.  My daughter who was stillborn was due to a blood clot that hemorahged and ruptured, again not something I caused.  Now if someone tried to tell me I had to be tested for drugs, I would have been furious, its hard enough going through that without having someone suspecting you of causing it yourself, especially when you deal with the death of your child, there is always that bit of guilt thinking it could have been your fault and having someone suspect you of causing it is just not right.

It seems to me those law makers dont really understand that most prematurity, stillbirths, miscarriages have nothing to do with drugs. 

kfroz... kfroz0415

I just miscarried a very planned, very loved baby (possibly babies) a lil over a month ago and two years ago I gave birth to a beautiful small preemie little boy. Now having said that I would not have been opposed to being tested for drugs either time. This may be because I have never touched drugs and I don't come anywhere near alcohol while I am TTC or pregnant. I know both times I was (still am) searching for answers as to why these things happen and maybe if it could have been something I did wrong, but I know it didn't have anything to do with drugs or alcohol so who cares if I have to pee in a cup or have one more vial of blood drawn. If it saves one baby from being sent home with a drug addicted mother or teaches a drug addicted mother life's toughest lesson after a m/c I would have to say a little stress on me (and the other innocent mothers) is worth it in my book.

RanaA... RanaAurora

I think it'd be fine to do without letting the mother know, to help with a database to understand what causes preemies and miscarriages - after all, if we're to help prevent it, we have to understand the causes.

It should NOT be done to condemn the mother, though.

lilma... lilmami81

That is horrible. I don't see how it helps anyone.  It won't help the mothers or the children.  Not to be sexist, but only a man could come up with this type of legislation.  "If there's a problem with the baby, the mother must be at fault." 

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