Your Words Matter – Language Showing Compassion and Care for Women, Infants, Families, and Communities Impacted by Substance Use Disorder

Featuring excerpts from women with lived experience, this evidence-based resource details why the cost of stigma is so high for pregnant women and mothers with SUD. How to use person-first language and terms to use and to avoid (and why) are also covered. This activity highlights your role in helping destigmatize addiction and substance use disorder and reduce negative bias among pregnant women and mothers. The activity has background information and tips for providers on language to use or avoid.

Learning Objectives


At the conclusion of this activity, participants should be able to:

  • Explain the effects of stigmatizing language on patients with addiction
  • Describe the effects of stigma on pregnant women and mothers
  • Compare common terminology and assess which terms should be used or avoided and why
  • Integrate person-first, non-stigmatizing language into everyday practice
  • Identify terms to use and terms to avoid when speaking to patients about addiction