Opioid Addiction Among Pregnant Women Quadrupled Since 1999, New Report Shows

Pregnant Women Suffering from Opioid Addiction Quadrupled Since 1999, New Report Shows

In the wake of the opioid epidemic that is claiming as many as 115 lives on a daily basis, according to the CDC, a new report sheds light on how the opioid problem in the United States is affecting pregnant women and their babies. The study, entitled “Opioid Use Disorder Documented at Delivery Hospitalization — United States, 1999-2014” revealed an alarming statistics: since 1999 to 2014, opioid addiction in pregnant women quadrupled.

What effects does drug abuse have on newborns? Click here to learn more.

What The Study Focused On

CDC researchers gathered data from 28 different states across America. It analyzed the effect that opioid abuse had on pregnant women and their babies. Of course, apart from the negative effects that opioid addiction has on mental, social and physical aspects of a person’s life, including the risk of losing their lives to overdose, opioid addiction also causes severe problems in mothers and their babies.

Opioid use in pregnancy can lead to the following problems:

  • Stillbirth
  • Maternal morality
  • Neonatal abstinence syndrome
  • Preterm labor

These were some of the areas that researchers at the CDC were focusing on in order to gather their opioid use during pregnancy statistics.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)

NAS is a condition that is caused by the abuse of opioids in pregnant women passing to their babies. The babies are then born dependent on opioids and therefore suffering from withdrawal, known as NAS.

Some of the complications that NAS causes in newborns include the following:

  • Low birth weight
  • Feeding difficulties
  • Seizures
  • Respiratory issues
  • Possible death
  • Physical birth defects
  • Learning disabilities

Opioid Use During Pregnancy Statistics

Of course, opioid use in pregnancy is not ideal by any means. It passes on to the child with devastating effect. The study highlighted some of the most important changes that have occurred from 1999 to 2014 for women with an opioid addiction during pregnancy.

Some of the statistics that came out of the study include the following:

  • Opioid overdose in children has nearly doubled in just 10 years.
  • Use of heroin and prescription pain killers increased 4-fold from 1999 to 2014.
  • The highest rates of opioid abuse in pregnant women were in New Mexico, West Virginia, Maine and Vermont.
  • The states that saw the lowest increase during the study time-period were Hawaii and California.
  • The national opioid use disorder statistics for pregnant women went from 1.5 cases per 1,000 deliveries to 6.5 per 1,000.

Federal Lawsuits Against Drug Manufacturers

In August 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions began to build a federal lawsuit against the companies and manufacturers that played a role in the current opioid epidemic, on request of President Trump. As it stands, many states have already begun filing lawsuits against who they believe hold the greatest responsibility in the opioid crisis – opioid manufacturers. Some of the companies in question include the maker of the popular drug Oxycontin, Purdue Pharma.

Treatment Options for Pregnant Women With an Opioid Dependence

Treating opioid dependence in a pregnant mother is more difficult because it limits the types of medications that can be used, but it is possible. For example, a mother can be treated with medications such as methadone during certain trimesters. However, it’s very important to work closely with a physician that specializes in addiction treatment in pregnant mothers as opposed to attempting to stop by yourself.

Along with the medication-assisted approach, therapy and counseling can help a mother to learn how to cope without the use of opioids. Of course, it’s never ideal to get pregnant while addicted to a drug, but if you are, then you can find help by calling WhiteSands at (877) 855-3470.





If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.