Pregnant Women in Indiana May Soon Be Examined for Drug or Alcohol Use While Pregnant

WITZ Radio News is an affiliate of Network Indiana 

STATE HOUSE--Expectant moms may soon be screened by doctors and health care providers to see if they've been using drugs or alcohol while pregnant. The Indiana House of Representatives advanced a bill that could help more Hoosier babies reach their first birthday.

Under the proposal, medical providers would check for signs of substance abuse in pregnant women through a consultation, and refer them to substance abuse treatment programs as early as possible.

“With the seventh-highest infant mortality rate in the nation, there is much to be done to ensure more Hoosier babies live to celebrate their first birthday,” said Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer (R-Beech Grove), chair of the House Public Health Committee.

“This proposal goes hand-in-hand with our efforts to combat the opioid epidemic because for mothers who use drugs or consume alcohol during pregnancies there is often a higher risk of SIDS.”

The 13 counties with the highest risk for babies come first with a pilot program, if the bill passes both chambers and is signed by the governor.

“All of these steps are vital to connecting women with high-risk pregnancies to medical resources before, during and after giving birth,” Kirchhofer said.