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Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2012 Dec;67(12):817-25. doi: 10.1097/OGX.0b013e3182788e8c.

Opioid addiction in pregnancy.

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Boston University School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA 02118, USA.


The purpose of this review is to discuss the incidence, risks, pregnancy complications, and maintenance options for treatment of opioid addiction in pregnancy.


Opioid dependence in pregnancy carries clear identifiable maternal and fetal risk. Providing care for patients with dependence is best done in a multidisciplinary care model addressing the particular needs of this population. There are limited data on maternal detoxification, with data still emerging surrounding the safety profile of this practice. Historically, methadone has been the recommended maintenance treatment; however, recent data on buprenorphine identify this as a safe and effective option. The majority of births from women with opioid dependence result in neonatal abstinence syndrome requiring prolonged neonatal hospitalization. Intrapartum pain management should not differ from the general obstetric population. Postpartum pain is magnified in this population, and particular attention should be focused on this issue. Breast-feeding is recommended regardless of maintenance dose, unless other conditions restricting breast-feeding are present. Comprehensive postpartum care and transition of care to addiction specialists are highly recommended.


Obstetricians and gynecologists, family physicians, addiction specialists.


After completing this CME activity, physicians should be better able to assess the treatment options available to patients with opioid addiction during pregnancy, compare the risk/safety profiles of methadone and buprenorphine, and evaluate the recommendations and current data surrounding breast-feeding while on opioid maintenance treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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