Opioids Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

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Co-occurring Conditions: Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Pregnant women with an opioid use disorder require comprehensive obstetric (OB) care that includes medication assisted therapy (MAT). An example of an OB clinic that started serving pregnant women with an opioid use disorder is PATHways clinic in Kentucky.  They promote attachment, more handling, more skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding support, rooming-in, and care by parent.  Their concern is for the pregnant women, the unborn baby, and the extended family. 

From PATHways experience, they have found that:

  • Suboxone was far more effective than methadone:  There were similar rates of NAS, however women who were taking suboxone had much shorter hospital stays and much less medication for babies born to mothers taking suboxone.  The typical length of stay for infants exposed to opioids is 21 days; when pregnant women were taking suboxone, their hospital stay averaged 6 days. 
  • Group prenatal care supported recovery:  For every one session increase in group attendance, the moms were 13% more likely to maintain sobriety.
  • Mom is in charge of newborn care:  The mom does 100% of the care for her newborn baby, with RN support available.  Care by Parent outcomes included shorter length of hospital stay after birth, less medication for baby, and more babies going home with mom.  Upon leaving care, 62% of the women were breastfeeding exclusively.

Kristin Ashford, Agatha Critchfield, Michelle Lofwall, Lori Shook, and Sharon Walsh, staff from PATHways Clinic, presented at the 2017 Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta.

Please visit the Opioid Dashboard for more information on opioid overdose death, nonfatal overdose, use, misuse, substance use disorder, prescribing practices, supply, diversion, harm reduction, co-occurring conditions, and social determinants of health.