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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Opioid Dependent Pregnant Women

While the overall rate of opioid dependent pregnant women is low, 0.39 percent, new research suggests that the percentage of opioid dependent pregnant women more than doubled from 1998 to 2011, HealthDay reports.

The rise in opioid dependent mothers is the direct result of prescription opioid epidemic in America. Over prescribing of drugs, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, has trickled into every corner of life, even babies are at risk of being born dependent on those powerful narcotics.

The study looked at the use of prescription painkillers, as well as illegal opioids, by mothers, such as:
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone
  • Morphine
  • Methadone
  • Heroin
Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston analyzed data on almost 57 million deliveries between 1998 and 2011. The findings showed that women dependent on opioids were more likely to deliver by cesarean section and have extended hospital stays. Opioid dependent mothers were almost five times as likely to die during hospitalization, according to the article. Babies born to opioid dependent mothers were twice as likely to be stillborn, premature and have poor growth. Mothers were three times as likely to experience placental abruption, a condition where the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus prematurely.

“This increase in opioid abuse and dependence in the pregnant population is happening along with that in the general population,” Lead researcher Dr. Lisa Leffert said. “These women were more likely to deliver by cesarean and have extended hospital stays.”

The findings are published in the journal Anesthesiology.

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