Pregnant Women & ER LA Opioid Treatment

Every Mother, Every Baby Deserves a Great Start

opioid pregnantSome 29,000 infants have been born dependent on prescription opioids and other narcotics.1 That number is rising, as women are more likely than men to be prescribed opioid pain medicines, to use them long-term, and to receive prescriptions for higher doses.2 The rate of prescription opioid use during pregnancy increased 127% between 1998 and 2011.3

Women and their newborns are often hurt more than helped by prescription opioids: 4, 5

  • Since 2004, the number of children treated for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) increased fourfold.6
  • Prescription opioid exposure during development raises risks of stillbirth, and for babies born preterm, underweight, and in withdrawal.
  • Prescription opioids during pregnancy increase the risks of maternal death, cardiac arrest, transfusion, and cesarean delivery.
What You Can Do
Whatever your clinical focus, you can help end the NAS epidemic by understanding the safe treatment of chronic pain, including for millions of women of childbearing age.











>> Take the free COPE-REMS CME. Learn how to safely treat patients with chronic pain while managing risk.
>> Follow COPE on Twitter @copechronicpain

Infant Hospitalizations for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome in WA State

Graph by COPE using data from the Washington State Agency Medical Directors' Group.

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Fact sheet on Women, Pregnancy and Prescription Opioids


2. Vital Signs: Overdoses of Prescription Opioid Pain Relievers and Other Drugs Among Women — United States, 1999–2010. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. July 5, 2013/ 62(26);537-542.
3. Maeda A; Bateman BT; Clancy CR; Creanga AA; Leffert LR. Opioid abuse and dependence during pregnancy: temporal trends and obstetrical outcomes. Anesthesiology. 2014; 121(6);1158-65 (ISSN: 1528-1175).
4. Stokowski, LA. An Epidemic of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. Medscape Nurses. March 2015.
5. Patrick SW, Dudley J, Martin PR, Harrell FE, Warren MD, Hartmann KE, Ely EW, Grijalva CG, Cooper WO. Prescription Opioid Epidemic and Infant Outcomes. Pediatrics. Published online April 13, 2015. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2014-329.
6. Veeral TN, Patrick SW, Bennett MM, Murthy K, Sousa JP, Smith B, Clark RH, Spitzer AR. Increasing Incidence of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome in U.S. Neonatal ICUs. New England Journal of Medicine. April 26, 2015. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMsa1500439

Also see:

Desai RJ, Hernandez-Diaz S, Bateman BT, Huybrechts KF. Increase in prescription opioid use during pregnancy among Medicaid-enrolled women. Obstet Gynecol. 2014 May;123(5):997-1002.
Bateman BT, Hernandez-Diaz S, Rathmell JP, Seeger JD, Doherty M, Fischer MA, Huybrechts KF. Patterns of opioid utilization in pregnancy in a large cohort of commercial insurance beneficiaries in the United States. Anesthesiology. 2014 May;120(5):1216-24