The Women’s Alcohol and Drug Service (WADS) at the Royal Women’s Hospital provides a multidisciplinary service to care for pregnant women using substances with complex psychosocial issues. The number of women with methamphetamine use has increased significantly over the last 10 years. These women face multiple barriers to accessing antenatal care, often resulting in poor maternal and fetal outcomes, including high admission rates to Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery, low birth weight (small for gestational age), and women are less likely to retain custody of their babies. Many women are using multiple substances, thereby increasing the risk of fetal harm. WADS takes a harm minimisation approach when supporting women with substance use in pregnancy, using education as well as working closely with the women and community supports to reduce harm to mothers and babies.
Julie Blandthorn, Clinical Midwife Consultant, Women’s Alcohol and Drug Service, Royal Women’s Hospital
Julie is a Clinical Midwife Consultant at WADS. She has qualifications in nursing, midwifery and maternal and maternal and child health nursing and has worked in WADS for more than 20 years. Julie’s current role is the education coordinator where she facilitates and organises face-to-face and online training throughout Victoria.
Kerri Felemonow, Manager, Women’s Alcohol and Drug Service, Royal Women’s Hospital WADS
Kerri is the manager of WADS. She has worked in this service for nearly 12 years. Her previous work has been in drug and alcohol treatment services and child protection. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Legal Studies and Social Work. She completed a Research Master’s that explored the impact of trauma on pregnant women affected by substance use.