Guidelines on opioid use during pregnancy by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Guidelines on opioid use during pregnancy
  • Early universal screening, brief intervention (eg, engaging the patient in a short conversation, providing feedback and advice), and referral for treatment of pregnant women with opioid use and opioid use disorder improve maternal and infant outcomes.
  • Screening for substance use should be part of comprehensive obstetric care and should be done at the first prenatal visit in partnership with the pregnant woman. Screening based only on factors such as poor adherence to prenatal care or prior adverse pregnancy outcome can lead to missed cases and may add to stereotyping and stigma. Therefore, it is essential that screening be universal.
  • Routine screening should rely on validated screening tools, such as questionnaires, including 4Ps, NIDA Quick Screen, and CRAFFT (for women 26 yr or younger).
  • For chronic pain, practice goals include strategies to avoid or minimize the use of opioids for pain management, highlighting alternative pain therapies such as nonpharmacologic (eg, exercise, physical therapy, behavioral approaches), and nonopioid pharmacologic treatments.
  • For pregnant women with an opioid use disorder, opioid agonist pharmacotherapy is the recommended therapy and is preferable to medically supervised withdrawal because withdrawal is associated with high relapse rates, which lead to worse outcomes. More research is needed to assess the safety (particularly regarding maternal relapse), efficacy, and long-term outcomes of medically supervised withdrawal.
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