AJOG Article: Opioid Dependence and Pregnancy: Minimizing Stress on the Fetal Brain

Abstract:  Increase in the number of opioid-dependent pregnant women delivering babies at risk for neonatal abstinence syndrome prompted a US Government Accountability Office report documenting deficits in research and provider knowledge about care of the maternal/fetal unit and the neonate. There are 3 general sources of dependence: untreated opioid use disorder, pain management, and medication-assisted treatment with methadone or buprenorphine. A survey of methadone patients’ experiences when telling a physician of their pregnancy and opioid dependence demonstrated physician confusion about proper care, frequent negative interactions with the mother, and failures to provide appropriate referral. Patients in pain management were discharged without referral when the physician was told of the pregnancy. Methadone and buprenorphine were frequently seen negatively because they “caused” neonatal abstinence syndrome. Most mothers surveyed had to find opioid treatment on their own. Click here to view the entire article.