Lab Analyzes Babies’ Umbilical Cords for Mothers’ Drug Use

A lab in Utah is analyzing sections of umbilical cords to look for evidence of mothers’ drug use, Medical Daily reports. Quickly identifying which infants have been exposed to drugs, and which drugs they were exposed to, can provide valuable information to neonatal specialists treating the babies, the lab says.

ARUP Laboratories, which is affiliated with the University of Utah, was the second lab in the nation to offer umbilical cord testing, the article notes. Before umbilical cord testing was developed, doctors would analyze babies’ exposure to drugs through their meconium (first stool). Testing the umbilical cord is faster, according to the article. Umbilical cord testing can take up to 72 hours.

“Sometimes babies are already in the throes of withdrawal symptoms but physicians can’t determine what drugs they are dealing with until test results are available,” Dr. Gwen McMillin, Medical Director of ARUP’s Clinical Toxicology Laboratories, said in a press release.

Full story of analyzing umbilical cords from mother drug use at

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Will Savage

Quantum Units Continuing Education provides online CEU training's to licensed professional mental health therapists, counselors, social workers and nurses. Our blog provides updates in the field of news and research related to mental health and substance abuse treatment.