Oxycodone pills. Opioid pain medication, narcotic. Close up white pills with a bottle on a blue

Opioid use during pregnancy can be prescribed, misused, illicit or opioids used as medication-assisted treatment. Even though opioids are prescribed to treat pain there are still possible risks that pregnant women should be aware of. The CDC reported, 7% of women were using prescription opioid pain relievers during pregnancy in 2019. Of those 7% 1 in 5 reported misuse of the pain relievers.  

Risk Factors

  • Opioid use during pregnancy has many health effects for the mother and baby:  
  • Maternal death 
  • Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS)
  • Poor fetal growth 
  • Preterm labor 
  • Birth defects 
  • Stillbirth  

Pregnancy and Opioid Use 

  • Talk to your prenatal care provider and make them aware of what you are taking. Ask about safer alternatives during pregnancy. 
  • Don’t stop taking the opioids until you talk with your prenatal care provider. Quitting abruptly can cause severe withdrawal symptoms that can harm you and your baby. 
  • Make sure your provider knows that your delivery plan includes a baby with NAS.  
  • If you are addicted to opioids get help right away.  
  • For more information on opioid use during pregnancy and treatments CDC Opioid & Pregnancy
  • The Illinois Department of Public Health has extensive opioid treatment centers categorized by county. Visit, IDPH- Treatment Resources. The list services pregnant women with Medicaid. Find your county and the best center for you. 

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