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Perinatal Substance Use

Substance use affects many people, including those who are pregnant and parenting. Whatever your role is, you can help support healthy people, families, and babies.

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The resources offered here have been created through the Provincial Perinatal Substance Use Program. This  provincial program is a collaboration between the BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Mental Health & Addictions and all regional health authorities and community agencies who serve women who are pregnant, or newly parenting, and using substances.  

Provincial Blueprint

The Provincial Blueprint for a Perinatal Substance Use Continuum of Care 

The Provincial Blueprint for a Perinatal Substance Use Continuum of Care comprises of thirty eight recommendations describing evidence, leading practice and Indigenous ways of being and knowing to advance the perinatal substance use continuum of services and supports. 

The Provincial Blueprint was developed by the Provincial Perinatal Substance Use Project in collaboration with Indigenous Elders, women and non-binary people with lived and living experiences, Indigenous leaders, clinicians, educators, child welfare representatives, housing representatives, health system leaders, and government leaders.

"By listening to the voices of Indigenous Elders, leaders and women, health care and social systems can change for the better. The Provincial Blueprint aligns to this vision of the future and shares how to achieve it."

- Dr. Elder Roberta Price, Coast Salish Snuneymuxw and Cowichan Nations & Elder Glida Morgan, Tla'amin Nation  

Education & Training

There are many related courses, conferences, and resources available that will help you to prepare and advance your skills and knowledge. Please see the topic areas and resources below.

Safe, collaborative, trusting relationships are a essential when it comes to working with women and families, ‎where there is substance use.  Some key educational offerings that support building safe relationships include: Motivational Interviewing, trauma and violence informed practice, and Indigenous Cultural Safety.  The following courses are available to help you grow your skills in these areas. Indigenous Cultural Safety is integrated throughout all our content. 


SafeCare  education includes trauma and violence informed practice, substance use harm reduction, Indigenous Cultural Safety, and self-care components.   The SafeCare curriculum focuses on principles of resilience, healing, and improved care outcomes. The goal of the learning is to create safer, more collaborative, more trusting relationships with patients, families and colleagues. There are two different versions of SafeCare. These include a BC Children's & Women's version for all employees, leaders, and physicians, as well as a Perinatal Substance Use version for healthcare provider and leaders in the province who work with women who are pregnant or newly parenting and who use substances.

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

Motivational Interviewing is a collaborative conversation style, that draws on a person's own motivation to change. All Health Authorities (HA) offer yearly seats at MI training. These offerings are coordinated through point persons at each HA.  You may also contact your regional perinatal substance working group to find out about Centre for Collaboration, Motivation and Innovation education opportunities. Finally, see the education resource list for other on-demand resources for MI. 

Elders Visioning Perinatal Substance Use Toolkit

The Elders Visioning Perinatal Substance Use Toolkit is a unique resource describing Indigenous Elders' teaching and perspectives on providing culturally safe health care and how to engage Elders in health care services in a good way.

Moms and babies both do better when they are together. BC Women’s Hospital & Health Centre (BCW) supports mother and baby togetherness as a guiding principle for care, recommended by Health Canada and the World Health Organization (WHO) (2009).


The Provincial Rooming In Guideline for Perinatal Women Using Substances was developed by the Provincial Perinatal Substance Use Program at BCW. The guideline is comprised of best evidence, leading and wise practices to support mother and baby togetherness through Rooming-in in the acute care setting.


Eat, Sleep, Console (ESC) refers to a clinical tool used in acute care to manage neonatal withdrawal symptoms.  ESC education is available as part of the Perinatal Substance Use course on the UBC CPD site. ‎

The Implementing Eat, Sleep, Console Provincial Evaluation Report summarizes key findings on learning and experiences of ESC implementation at acute care hospital sites and uptake of online training across the province. 

Addiction Care and Treatment Online Course (UBC CPD)

Please see the "Pregnancy and Substance Use" module that is part of the ACTOC Certificate course. You can complete individual modules, or the entire certificate, if you choose. 

Perinatal Substance Use (UBC CPD)

The Perinatal Substance Use course includes 4 separate modules related to perinatal care, the Eat, Sleep Console (ESC) clinical tool and non-pharmalogical care, as well as pharmacological care, Neonatal Abstinance Syndrome, principles of care, and 'going home'.  

Other Resources

Best Practice Guidelines for Mental Health Disorders in the Perinatal Period: Substance Use Disorders was developed by the BC Reproductive Mental Health Program, Provincial Perinatal Substance Use Program and Perinatal Services BC. It is a manual for health care professionals that describe best practices for the care of birthing individuals with substance use disorders in the perinatal period. 

The Renewed FIR Model of Care was developed in a collaborative process with the FIR interdisciplinary team and reflects alignment with the best evidence, leading and wise practices, and insights from women with lived and living experience.  The FIR model of care provides the acute care design elements for the provincial blueprint for a perinatal substance use continuum of care. 

Women Together. Conquer Stigma. Perinatal Substance Use. A video by the Provincial Perinatal Substance Use Program.

Lifeguard App is a free, downloadable application for mobile phones designed to support people using substances to practice safe substance use and links them to emergency responders in the case of an overdose.

Download on the App store | Download on Google Play 

National Overdose Response System (NORS) is a peer-led overdose prevention hotline available to Canadians to access overdose support 24/7. Call 1-888-688-NORS (6677).

Brave App is a free, downloadable application that allows people using substances to set up a safety plan when they use substances to help if an overdose occurs. The app is available to anyone in North America and is accessible 24/7.

Download on the App store | Download on Google Play

BC Housing Inventory for Perinatal Women Using Substances with Dependant Children. A list of housing programs for perinatal women using substances (or in early recovery), as well as programs accepting women with dependent children.

'Home, Recovery and Family Unity' A Position Paper on Housing for Pregnant and Parenting Women in Substance Use Recovery Summary. A summary of the housing position paper developed directly by birthers with lived and living experience describing a housing model that centres individual choice and reflects the dynamic and non-linear nature of parenting people's housing and support needs.


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