ABSTRACT: Opioid use in pregnancy has escalated dramatically in recent years, paralleling the epidemic observed in the general population. To combat the opioid epidemic, all health care providers need to take an active role. Pregnancy provides an important opportunity to identify and treat women with substance use disorders. Substance use disorders affect women across all racial and ethnic groups and all socioeconomic groups, and affect women in rural, urban, and suburban populations. Therefore, it is essential that screening be universal. Screening for substance use should be a part of comprehensive obstetric care and should be done at the first prenatal visit in partnership with the pregnant woman. Patients who use opioids during pregnancy represent a diverse group, and it is important to recognize and differentiate between opioid use in the context of medical care, opioid misuse, and untreated opioid use disorder. Multidisciplinary long-term follow-up should include medical, developmental, and social support. Infants born to women who used opioids during pregnancy should be monitored for neonatal abstinence syndrome by a pediatric care provider. Early universal screening, brief intervention (such as engaging a patient in a short conversation, providing feedback and advice), and referral for treatment of pregnant women with opioid use and opioid use disorder improve maternal and infant outcomes. In general, a coordinated multidisciplinary approach without criminal sanctions has the best chance of helping infants and families.
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