CHAMP is a specialised antenatal clinic, offered by Mater Mother’s Hospital, to provide care to pregnant women with substance use issues.

CHAMP Clinic’s experienced staff can assist pregnant women to make positive changes to their drug-using behaviours. Staff have knowledge and experience of opioid replacement therapies; current treatment options for drug dependence; blood-borne viral infections (e.g. hepatitis C) and transmission risks, and can assist you in gaining skills to nurture and care for your baby.

In addition, staff can support women with mental illness and/or psychosocial problems and will advocate for pregnant women with special needs. Women can self-refer to this clinic. CHAMP Clinic provides:

  • antenatal health checks with midwives, to help prepare you for birth
  • access to an obstetrician and medical team
  • health information and education
  • intervention of alcohol and drug use problems
  • support during your postnatal stay and for a short time after discharge, if needed
  • parenting information and advice
  • referral to other health/support services both within the hospital and community i.e. social work services, child health clinics 

Information on substance use during pregnancy

It is not only the type of substance or drug used, but how much and how often, that determines possible effects. While obstetric and other complications occur in all antenatal patient groups, women who consume alcohol in pregnancy, those who use other drugs such as cannabis/marijuana, amphetamine type stimulants or those who inject drugs, are at increased risk of having complications.

How substance use may affect an unborn baby

While a lot is known about adverse effects to unborn babies from alcohol and tobacco, new information on effects from illicit drug use is now also emerging (see brochures below relating to specific drugs’ effects).

What about prescribed medications?

If you are taking medications prescribed by a doctor for a medical or mental health condition, it is very important to advise the doctor of this during your pregnancy. Your doctor will provide you with information about the safety of using this medication in pregnancy and will work with you on managing your condition during your pregnancy. This could include continuing on your current medication, changing to safer medication for pregnancy or it may involve other management strategies. If you are taking prescribed medications, we would advise regular review by your doctor during your pregnancy.

Is there a risk of a newborn baby withdrawing from their mother’s drug-use?

Any baby who was regularly exposed to (maternal) substances (including some medications) in utero, needs to be assessed by a neonatologist (baby doctor) for risk the of developing neonatal withdrawals.

For women on opioid replacement therapies, we recommend you stay stable on your medication and stop all other recreational drug use. Unless there are other concerns, your baby will be admitted to the postnatal ward with you. You will be given information to help monitor your baby’s withdrawal symptoms and will be encouraged to provide most of the supportive care your baby might need. Some babies require an admission into our Special Care Nursery for treatment. If your baby is discharged home on medication, staff will remain involved in their care until the medication is stopped.

Is it okay to breastfeed?

There are many benefits to be gained from breastfeeding, for both mother and baby, so you are advised to abstain from regular or binge-type drug use so that you can breastfeed your baby.

Early discharge planning

Early discharge planning ensures women are prepared for their baby’s arrival and that they have adequate support to help them care for baby in the early postnatal period. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.

Building a strong relationship with your baby

All parents hope to build a strong loving relationship with their baby and all babies need a strong loving relationship with their parents. This relationship can be nurtured from early pregnancy. Remember you are the most important person in your baby’s life.

How fathers can help

There are many ways in which you can support your partner and form a close bond with your baby at the same time. Spending time with your baby, doing such things as bathing, burping, changing nappies and cuddling help you to get to know your baby.  

Being baby safe

It is important to provide a smoke-free, drug-free and safe home environment and to take advantage of available family support to ensure that you have plenty of help and adequate rest in those first few weeks after your baby’s birth.

Make a decision now not to be intoxicated around your baby. While it may be some time after your baby’s birth before you think about having a drink of alcohol or even having a night out. Before you do, STOP and think about who will care for your baby? Plan ahead; ask a trusted family member or friend, to babysit for the evening or overnight. Make sure that they know how to care for and respond to your baby, and they understand the importance of the safe sleeping guidelines when settling your baby to sleep.

Child safety concerns

Staff at CHAMP Clinic will identify and work with those women who present with child safety risk factors, such as homelessness, domestic violence or uncontrolled drug use.

For women who are involved with the Department of Communities—Child Safety, attending CHAMP Clinic for your antenatal care is seen as a positive step in working towards reducing child safety concerns as we offer support to women and their family in preparing for baby’s birth and subsequent discharge home.


For further advice or information on Mater’s services please contact Mater’s CHAMP Clinic:
Phone: 07 3163 2417
Fax: 07 3163 1559
Mater Mothers’ Hospital’s Antenatal Clinic: 07 3163 8330

Further information

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