What is already known about this topic?
Data on self-reported prescription opioid use during pregnancy are limited.
What is added by this report?
Analysis of 2019 survey data found that 6.6% of women reported prescription opioid use during pregnancy. Among these women, 21.2% reported misuse (a source other than a health care provider or a reason for use other than pain), 27.1% wanted or needed to cut down or stop using, and 31.9% reported not receiving provider counseling about how use could affect an infant.
What are the implications for public health practice?
Obstetric providers should discuss risks and benefits of opioid therapy for chronic pain during pregnancy, screen all pregnant women for substance use, misuse, and use disorders, including those involving prescription opioids, and provide referral and treatment, as indicated.
Background: Prescription opioid use during pregnancy has been associated with poor outcomes for mothers and infants. Studies using administrative data have estimated that 14%–22% of women filled a prescription for opioids during pregnancy; however, data on self-reported prescription opioid use during pregnancy are limited.
Methods: CDC analyzed 2019 data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) survey in 32 jurisdictions and maternal and infant health surveys in two additional jurisdictions not participating in PRAMS to estimate self-reported prescription opioid pain reliever (prescription opioid) use during pregnancy overall and by maternal characteristics among women with a recent live birth. This study describes source of prescription opioids, reasons for use, want or need to cut down or stop use, and receipt of health care provider counseling on how use during pregnancy can affect an infant.
Results: An estimated 6.6% of respondents reported prescription opioid use during pregnancy. Among these women, 21.2% reported misuse (a source other than a health care provider or a reason for use other than pain), 27.1% indicated wanting or needing to cut down or stop using, and 68.1% received counseling from a provider on how prescription opioid use during pregnancy could affect an infant.
Conclusions and Implications for Public Health Practice: Among respondents reporting opioid use during pregnancy, most indicated receiving prescription opioids from a health care provider and using for pain reasons; however, answers from one in five women indicated misuse. Improved screening for opioid misuse and treatment of opioid use disorder in pregnant patients might prevent adverse outcomes. Implementation of public health strategies (e.g., improving state prescription drug monitoring program use and enhancing provider training) can support delivery of evidence-based care for pregnant women.