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Are you pregnant and struggling with opioid addiction? If so, you are not alone. According to a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioid use disorder affected 6.5 of every 1,000 delivery hospitalizations as of 2014, a rate that had more than quadrupled since 1999.

It is important to take steps to manage opioid use, especially if you are pregnant. Using opioids during pregnancy can lead to serious consequences for both you and your child, including:

  • Birth defects
  • Developmental delays
  • Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS)
  • Poor fetal growth
  • Preeclampsia
  • Premature birth
  • Stillbirth

Fortunately, there is a solution that may help you more effectively manage your opioid addiction: medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Below, we explain what MAT is and why it is often an excellent option for pregnant women requiring opioid addiction treatment. We also discuss which types of medication should be used to treat opioid use disorder during pregnancy.

What Is MAT?

While many traditional addiction treatment programs require participants to detox entirely, MAT instead uses prescribed medication to help wean patients off the substances to which they are addicted. MAT has been shown to help relieve withdrawal symptoms and reduce the risk of overdoses and relapses.

Why Choose MAT During Pregnancy?

While MAT offers numerous advantages for individuals struggling with opioid addiction overall, it is especially beneficial for pregnant women. According to the CDC, current clinical recommendations for pregnant women with opioid use disorder include MAT rather than supervised withdrawal. This is largely because quickly stopping opioids during pregnancy can lead to complications such as:

  • Fetal distress
  • Miscarriage
  • Preterm labor

As the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) further explains:

“The rationale for opioid agonist pharmacotherapy during pregnancy is multifold. Opioid agonist pharmacotherapy prevents opioid withdrawal symptoms and is shown to prevent complications of nonmedical opioid use by reducing relapse risk and its associated consequences. It also improves adherence to prenatal care and addiction treatment programs. Opioid agonist pharmacotherapy in combination with prenatal care has been demonstrated to reduce the risk of obstetric complications.”

While MAT can potentially lead to NAS, the CDC has stated that “[a] concern for NAS alone should not deter healthcare providers from prescribing [medication for opioid use disorder].” By closely collaborating with your child’s pediatric care team, you can help ensure that your baby is monitored for NAS and that they receive any necessary treatment.

What Medications Should Be Used During Pregnancy?

ACOG, the American Society for Addiction Medicine (ASAM), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) all recommend using buprenorphine or methadone to treat pregnant women with opioid use disorder. Buprenorphine and methadone have both been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in opioid treatment programs, and they both help reduce cravings and control other withdrawal symptoms.

Learn More About Opioid Addiction Treatment During Pregnancy

If you would like to know more about MAT for pregnant women, contact Jovive Health today. We are a 100% doctor-owned and -led practice, and we have clinics in Cameron Park, CA; Chicago, IL; and Henderson, NV. Our experienced providers use buprenorphine/naloxone to treat opioid use disorder in patients over the age of 18, and we can also refer patients to any necessary support services. We will be happy to answer your questions and tell you more about opioid addiction treatment options for pregnant women.