Problematisation and regulation: bodies, risk, and recovery within the context of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

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Abstract

Background: Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is an anticipated effect of maternal drug use during pregnancy. Yet it remains a contested area of policy and practice. In this paper, we contribute to ongoing debates about the way NAS is understood and responded to, through different treatment regimes, or logics of care. Our analysis examines the role of risk and recovery discourses, and the way in which the bodies of women and babies are conceptualised within these.
Methods: Qualitative interviews with 16 parents (9 mothers, 7 fathers) and four focus groups with 27 health and social care professionals based in Scotland. All the mothers were prescribed opioid replacement therapy and parents were interviewed after their baby was born. Data collection explored understandings about the causes and consequences of NAS and experiences of preparing for, and caring for, a baby with NAS. Data were analysed using a narrative and discursive approach.
Results: Parent and professional accounts simultaneously upheld and subverted logics of care which govern maternal drug use and the assessment and care of mother and baby. Despite acknowledging the unpredictability of NAS symptoms and the inability of the women who are opioid-dependent to prevent NAS, logics of care centred on ‘proving’ risk and recovery. Strategies appealed to the need for caution, intervening and control, and obscured alternative logics of care that focus on improving support for mother-infant dyads and the family as a whole.
Conclusion: Differing notions of risk and recovery that govern maternal drug use, child welfare and family life both compel and trouble all logics of care. The contentious nature of NAS reflects wider socio-political and moral agendas that ultimately have little to do with meeting the needs of mothers and babies. Fundamental changes in the principles, quality and delivery of care could improve outcomes for families affected by NAS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-146
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Volume68
Early online date17 Jul 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

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Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
Mothers
Opiate Substitution Treatment
Parents
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Quality of Health Care
Scotland
Focus Groups
Child Welfare
Fathers
Opioid Analgesics
Interviews
Delivery of Health Care

Keywords

  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
  • pregnancy
  • risk
  • opioid dependence

Cite this

@article{1583dc56a9d047ab8934a7bb20298072,
title = "Problematisation and regulation: bodies, risk, and recovery within the context of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome",
abstract = "Background: Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is an anticipated effect of maternal drug use during pregnancy. Yet it remains a contested area of policy and practice. In this paper, we contribute to ongoing debates about the way NAS is understood and responded to, through different treatment regimes, or logics of care. Our analysis examines the role of risk and recovery discourses, and the way in which the bodies of women and babies are conceptualised within these.Methods: Qualitative interviews with 16 parents (9 mothers, 7 fathers) and four focus groups with 27 health and social care professionals based in Scotland. All the mothers were prescribed opioid replacement therapy and parents were interviewed after their baby was born. Data collection explored understandings about the causes and consequences of NAS and experiences of preparing for, and caring for, a baby with NAS. Data were analysed using a narrative and discursive approach.Results: Parent and professional accounts simultaneously upheld and subverted logics of care which govern maternal drug use and the assessment and care of mother and baby. Despite acknowledging the unpredictability of NAS symptoms and the inability of the women who are opioid-dependent to prevent NAS, logics of care centred on ‘proving’ risk and recovery. Strategies appealed to the need for caution, intervening and control, and obscured alternative logics of care that focus on improving support for mother-infant dyads and the family as a whole.Conclusion: Differing notions of risk and recovery that govern maternal drug use, child welfare and family life both compel and trouble all logics of care. The contentious nature of NAS reflects wider socio-political and moral agendas that ultimately have little to do with meeting the needs of mothers and babies. Fundamental changes in the principles, quality and delivery of care could improve outcomes for families affected by NAS.",
keywords = "Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, pregnancy, risk, opioid dependence",
author = "Lawrie Elliott",
note = "Acceptance from webpage AAM: 12m embargo",
year = "2019",
month = "6",
doi = "10.1016/j.drugpo.2018.06.006",
language = "English",
volume = "68",
pages = "139--146",
journal = "International Journal of Drug Policy",
issn = "0955-3959",
publisher = "Elsevier B.V.",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Problematisation and regulation: bodies, risk, and recovery within the context of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

AU - Elliott, Lawrie

N1 - Acceptance from webpage AAM: 12m embargo

PY - 2019/6

Y1 - 2019/6

N2 - Background: Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is an anticipated effect of maternal drug use during pregnancy. Yet it remains a contested area of policy and practice. In this paper, we contribute to ongoing debates about the way NAS is understood and responded to, through different treatment regimes, or logics of care. Our analysis examines the role of risk and recovery discourses, and the way in which the bodies of women and babies are conceptualised within these.Methods: Qualitative interviews with 16 parents (9 mothers, 7 fathers) and four focus groups with 27 health and social care professionals based in Scotland. All the mothers were prescribed opioid replacement therapy and parents were interviewed after their baby was born. Data collection explored understandings about the causes and consequences of NAS and experiences of preparing for, and caring for, a baby with NAS. Data were analysed using a narrative and discursive approach.Results: Parent and professional accounts simultaneously upheld and subverted logics of care which govern maternal drug use and the assessment and care of mother and baby. Despite acknowledging the unpredictability of NAS symptoms and the inability of the women who are opioid-dependent to prevent NAS, logics of care centred on ‘proving’ risk and recovery. Strategies appealed to the need for caution, intervening and control, and obscured alternative logics of care that focus on improving support for mother-infant dyads and the family as a whole.Conclusion: Differing notions of risk and recovery that govern maternal drug use, child welfare and family life both compel and trouble all logics of care. The contentious nature of NAS reflects wider socio-political and moral agendas that ultimately have little to do with meeting the needs of mothers and babies. Fundamental changes in the principles, quality and delivery of care could improve outcomes for families affected by NAS.

AB - Background: Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is an anticipated effect of maternal drug use during pregnancy. Yet it remains a contested area of policy and practice. In this paper, we contribute to ongoing debates about the way NAS is understood and responded to, through different treatment regimes, or logics of care. Our analysis examines the role of risk and recovery discourses, and the way in which the bodies of women and babies are conceptualised within these.Methods: Qualitative interviews with 16 parents (9 mothers, 7 fathers) and four focus groups with 27 health and social care professionals based in Scotland. All the mothers were prescribed opioid replacement therapy and parents were interviewed after their baby was born. Data collection explored understandings about the causes and consequences of NAS and experiences of preparing for, and caring for, a baby with NAS. Data were analysed using a narrative and discursive approach.Results: Parent and professional accounts simultaneously upheld and subverted logics of care which govern maternal drug use and the assessment and care of mother and baby. Despite acknowledging the unpredictability of NAS symptoms and the inability of the women who are opioid-dependent to prevent NAS, logics of care centred on ‘proving’ risk and recovery. Strategies appealed to the need for caution, intervening and control, and obscured alternative logics of care that focus on improving support for mother-infant dyads and the family as a whole.Conclusion: Differing notions of risk and recovery that govern maternal drug use, child welfare and family life both compel and trouble all logics of care. The contentious nature of NAS reflects wider socio-political and moral agendas that ultimately have little to do with meeting the needs of mothers and babies. Fundamental changes in the principles, quality and delivery of care could improve outcomes for families affected by NAS.

KW - Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

KW - pregnancy

KW - risk

KW - opioid dependence

U2 - 10.1016/j.drugpo.2018.06.006

DO - 10.1016/j.drugpo.2018.06.006

M3 - Article

VL - 68

SP - 139

EP - 146

JO - International Journal of Drug Policy

JF - International Journal of Drug Policy

SN - 0955-3959

ER -