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Interconnections between unintended pregnancy, alcohol and other drug use, and pregnancy, birth, infant, childhood and socioeconomic outcomes: a scoping review.

BACKGROUND: Unintended pregnancy (UIP) and substance use disorder share underlying root causes with similar impacts for women and their offspring in pregnancy, birth and beyond. Furthermore, intoxication with alcohol and other drugs (AOD) increases the risk of UIP.

OBJECTIVES: To assess the available evidence on associations between UIP and health, social and economic outcomes, in women who use AOD.

SEARCH STRATEGY: The review utilised the Joanna Briggs Institute Methodology for Scoping Reviews and PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) reporting guidelines. The search was conducted across multiple databases, including Scopus and Medline, and limited to studies published between January 2000 to June 2023.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Studies reporting on interactions between AOD use and UIP, and pregnancy, birth, infant, childhood, social or economic outcomes. All patterns and types of AOD use, except isolated use of tobacco, were included. Studies were available in English and conducted in high-income countries.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Selected articles were reviewed, and data collected by two independent reviewers using a standardised data extraction sheet. Findings were summarised and reported descriptively.

MAIN RESULTS: A total of 2536 titles and abstracts were screened, 97 full texts were reviewed, and three studies were selected for inclusion in the scoping review. There was heterogeneity in types and patterns of AOD use, differences in study design and tools to assess pregnancy intention, and each focused on disparate outcomes. No study assessed or reported on birth outcomes.

CONCLUSION: There is a paucity of data examining the intersection between AOD use and UIP and further research is needed.

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