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Opiate Addiction and Abuse in Pregnancy is on the Rise

A study released last year shows an increase in the amount of pregnant women who are using and abusing opiates during pregnancy. In the past 14 years, researchers have seen the number of pregnant women who abuse or are dependent on opioids jump 127 percent. Women 20- to 34- years old saw the largest growth with a jump of 162 percent from 1998 to 2011. Dr. Lisa R. Leffert, the lead author of the study and chief of obstetric anesthesia at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston says that “Opioid abuse and dependence has grown dramatically in the general U.S. population, and our findings show that this epidemic extends to pregnant women.”

Addiction at any stage of life can be dangerous, but the risks of opiate addiction during pregnancy affect both mother and child. The data shows that if a woman abused or was dependent on opioids, she was nearly five times more likely to die during delivery or while hospitalized. There is also a higher likelihood of delivery by cesarean and an extended hospital stay than those who did not abuse narcotics. For the child, they are twice as likely to be stillborn, preterm (born early), and have intrauterine growth restriction (poor growth). There is also an increased risk (about three times more common) for placental abruption, when the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus prematurely.

It is never too soon to get help. Studies show that opiate-related birth defects are typically seen when expectant mothers abuse drugs between the fourth and tenth weeks of pregnancy. “Given the rapid rise in opioid abuse and dependence in these patients, there is an urgent need to understand the link with bad outcomes and to develop interventions to help prevent them,” said Dr. Leffert.

About Residence XII

If you, or someone you know, is pregnant and battling an opiate addiction, then we are here to help. Residence XII offers DRUG TREATMENT that helps to empower women while leading them on their journey toward recovery. At Residence XII, we welcome all women (+18) and aim to provide the highest quality INPATIENT ALCOHOL TREATMENT available. We provide FREE ASSESSMENTS and references for women seeking more information about alcohol dependency. Residence XII also offers OUTPATIENT ALCOHOL TREATMENT PROGRAMS and FAMILY TREATMENT PROGRAMS. Residence XII is State Licensed by CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) and a member of the NAATP (National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers).