The recent opioid epidemic in the United States has led to rising prevalence of maternal opioid use disorder (OUD). First-line treatment for maternal OUD involves the use of opioid agonist pharmacotherapy, such as methadone or buprenorphine, in addition to cognitive behavioral therapy and counseling. The management of maternal OUD can become overwhelming for both patients and clinicians, especially during the early postpartum period. Therefore, it is imperative that clinicians understand the impact of additional stressors in caring for these patients. Maternal chronic opioid dependence can lead to neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome after birth. This multisystem condition affects neonatal neurobehavioral functioning and has significant human and socioeconomic consequences. First-line treatment for this syndrome involves intensive nonpharmacologic comforting measures, with maternal presence and involvement being central to ensuring the success of such measures. In this review, we describe the factors that place pregnant and postpartum women with OUD at risk of returning to illicit opioid use. We evaluate these multifaceted personal, social, societal, and systemic factors to inform the development of future clinical care initiatives.
Copyright © 2022 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.