Study Questions Reliability of Maternal Drug Testing
A new study finding that samples from maternal urine and the meconium of their newborn babies frequently produce different results is raising more questions about drug testing of pregnant women. The study found concerningly high rates of disagreement (or "discordance") in biochemical testing between maternal urine in women with a documented history of or active drug use and the meconium in their newborns. In some cases, such discordance might be triggering the inappropriate intervention of childcare protective services, including the separation of infants from their mothers, according to the researchers, who presented their findings February 4 at the 2022 Pregnancy Meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.
@anupam Urine tests of 327 women resulted in 187 (57%) positive and 98 (30%) negative results, along with 42 (13%) samples with incomplete data, the researchers reported. In contrast, drug testing of newborn meconium was positive in 273 (83%) cases, negative in 42 (13%), and was not performed in 12 (4%) ― for a rate of concordance of 41%. Concordance of urine/meconium occurred more frequently in male newborns (65%) compared to females (35%). It is unclear biologically why there is such a difference based on the sex of the infants' test and is an area that needs further investigation.