Opioid Use Disorder and Pregnancy
Opioid Use Disorder and Pregnancy (Text Version)
[Profile view of a pregnant figure, colored in shades of blue and purple]
- Are you using more opioids than prescribed?
- Do you feel a strong urge to use opioids?
- Does your opioid use cause work, school, or family problems?
- Do you need more opioids to get the same effect?
If you answered YES to any of these questions, you may have an opioid addiction, also called opioid use disorder.
Opioid use disorder during pregnancy can harm you and your fetus.
If you are pregnant and addicted to opioids, you need medical treatment.
How Treatment Works
The recommended treatment for opioid addiction involves the following:
- Taking medication that reduces your cravings (methadone or buprenorphine) [illustration of a medicine bottle]
- Getting behavioral therapy and counseling [illustration of three health care professionals]
Why Treatment Matters
In the right doses, methadone or buprenorphine can:
- Prevent withdrawal symptoms, cravings, and unhealthy use of opioids
- Help prevent overdose
- Make it more likely that your fetus will grow normally
- Help prevent an early birth
Counseling and good prenatal care can:
- Help you avoid and cope with situations that might lead to relapse
- Help you have a healthier baby
- Help you regain control of your health and life
Treatment and Your Newborn
Babies born to women taking methadone or buprenorphine can have short-term withdrawal symptoms. Swaddling, breastfeeding, skin-to-skin contact, and sometimes medications can help make babies feel better.
Did You Know?
- If you are prescribed an opioid during pregnancy, you should discuss the risks and benefits with your obstetrician–gynecologist (ob-gyn) or other health care professional.
- When taken under a doctor’s care, prescription opioids can be safe for both you and your fetus.
- It is important to take the medication only as prescribed.
Remember, if you are addicted to opioids, ask your ob-gyn or other health care professional about safe treatments.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists believes that pregnant women who have an opioid use disorder should receive medical care and counseling services, not punishment. Many states have created treatment programs for pregnant women. Seeking help is the first step in recovering from addiction and making a better life for you and your family.
PFSI013: This information is designed as an educational aid to patients and sets forth current information and opinions related to women’s health. It is not intended as a statement of the standard of care, nor does it comprise all proper treatments or methods of care. It is not a substitute for a treating clinician’s independent professional judgment. For ACOG’s complete disclaimer, visit www.acog.org/WomensHealth-Disclaimer.
Copyright April 2020 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, posted on the internet, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher.