Diagnosing uncertainty, producing neonatal abstinence syndrome

Amy Chandler, Anne Whittaker, Sarah Cunningham-Burley, Lawrie Elliott, Paula Midgley, Sarah Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The use of alcohol and other drugs during pregnancy is understood to be an important public health problem. One way in which this problem is expressed and responded to is via the identification and treatment of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). In this paper, we demonstrate how the processes of anticipating, identifying and responding to NAS are characterised by significant uncertainty among parents and health and social care practitioners. We draw on interviews with 16 parents who had recently had a baby at risk of NAS, and multi-disciplinary focus groups with 27 health and social care professionals, held in Scotland, UK. NAS, and drug-use in pregnancy, is a fraught and complex arena. Parents in the UK who use opioids risk losing custody of children, and must navigate a high degree of surveillance, governance and marginalisation. We suggest that considering NAS as a social diagnosis, further informed by Mol’s political ontology of ‘multiple’ bodies/diseases, may help to produce clinical and social responses to uncertainty which avoid, rather than promote, further marginalisation of parents who use drugs. One such response is to develop a culture of relationship-based care which empowers both service providers and service users to challenge existing practice and decision making.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSociology of Health and Illness
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 15 Aug 2019

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Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
Uncertainty
parents
uncertainty
Parents
drug use
pregnancy
Child Custody
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Delivery of Health Care
child custody
Pregnancy
health
baby
ontology
service provider
surveillance
Scotland
Focus Groups
public health

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Chandler, A., Whittaker, A., Cunningham-Burley, S., Elliott, L., Midgley, P., & Cooper, S. (Accepted/In press). Diagnosing uncertainty, producing neonatal abstinence syndrome. Sociology of Health and Illness.
Chandler, Amy ; Whittaker, Anne ; Cunningham-Burley, Sarah ; Elliott, Lawrie ; Midgley, Paula ; Cooper, Sarah. / Diagnosing uncertainty, producing neonatal abstinence syndrome. In: Sociology of Health and Illness. 2019.
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Chandler, A, Whittaker, A, Cunningham-Burley, S, Elliott, L, Midgley, P & Cooper, S 2019, 'Diagnosing uncertainty, producing neonatal abstinence syndrome', Sociology of Health and Illness.

Diagnosing uncertainty, producing neonatal abstinence syndrome. / Chandler, Amy; Whittaker, Anne; Cunningham-Burley, Sarah; Elliott, Lawrie; Midgley, Paula; Cooper, Sarah.

In: Sociology of Health and Illness, 15.08.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Chandler, Amy

AU - Whittaker, Anne

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AU - Elliott, Lawrie

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Chandler A, Whittaker A, Cunningham-Burley S, Elliott L, Midgley P, Cooper S. Diagnosing uncertainty, producing neonatal abstinence syndrome. Sociology of Health and Illness. 2019 Aug 15.