Addressing Substance Abuse During the Pregnancy and Postpartum Period




Raines-Milenkov, Amy
Le, Christine
Fadeyi, Oluwatosin
Davis, Ambriale
Ghosh, Shanalyn


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Purpose: The purpose of this study is to identify the best practices to combat substance abuse in both the pregnancy and postpartum period. Methods: The research was conducted using a web-based search of peer-reviewed journal articles and state reports. Results: Our results demonstrate that there is a need for increased drug abuse screening during both the antepartum and postpartum period. Because opioids are a major contributor to maternal death, providers need to administer a tailored plan of care for pain relief to ensure the necessity of prescription painkillers. The Wisconsin Drug Monitoring Program saw a 7% decrease in opioid prescriptions from cesarean delivery and 6% decrease from vaginal delivery through effective monitoring prior to discharge. From 2012 to 2015, drug overdose accounted for 17% of all maternal deaths between the time of delivery and one-year postpartum in Texas. Conclusion: Although many states have taken initiatives to combat the growing rate of maternal mortality, research and interventions that addresses the role of substance abuse is still minute. California's maternal mortality rate tremendously decreased as a result of healthcare recommendations from their Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review, but drug overdose still ranks as the second leading cause of maternal deaths from pregnancy to one-year postpartum. This underscores the necessity for increased awareness of how substance abuse can affect mothers one-year past delivery in both outpatient and hospital-settings.