A random sample by questionnaire in 1989 of U.S. physicians' perceptions of and management practices for significant fetal drug exposure in the specialty/sub-specialty areas of genetics, neonatology, pediatrics, family practice, neurology, and obstetrics and gynecology was analyzed. Neonatologists reported the greatest number of cases of significant fetal drug exposure, with 45% seeing at least one case per week. Of all physicians, 88% felt that fetal drug exposure is underreported in medical histories, with no statistically significant differences noted in responses for scope of practice or physician age and gender. Review of management styles showed that most physicians recognize the potential problems of fetal drug exposure and the desired intervention. There was, however, a small group of physicians (less than 10%) who did not follow this pattern. Fetal drug exposure continues to be an area in which continuing professional and public education is desirable.
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