Healthbeat 4: Combating the opioid epidemic among pregnant women - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Healthbeat 4: Combating the opioid epidemic among pregnant women


"This isn't our first epidemic and it won't be out last," said Dr. Robert Bonebrake, perinatologist. 

Dr. Robert Bonebrake is a perinatoligist from Omaha, Nebraska.

He says he's seen a significant increase in opioid use in pregnancy. 

"It's probably quadrupled," said Dr. Bonebrake, "Along with that, since we have an increase use of opioid use in pregnancy we've seen an increase risk of neonatal abstinence syndrome in babies. We've seen a four to five-fold increase risk in that."

Neonatal abstinence syndrome is most often caused when a woman takes opioids during pregnancy. 

Dr. Bonebrake says one way to combat this epidemic is to screen moms for opioid use. 

"I'm talking about a conversation screening," said Dr. Bonebrake, "Asking moms, talking to them non-judgmentally and find out if they're using. And if they are then we know that they have about a 50% of their baby having some sort of withdraw."

Dr. Bonebrake says if mom uses opioids for non-medically indicated situations or has an opioid misuse disorder, it's important to get the patient in the appropriate treatment.

"Treatment doesn't indicate just a medicine, it indicates a comprehensive collaboration between medical specialties include ourselves, anesthesia, pain meds. But the biggest one that no one talks about is behavior health and mental health. You've got to have behavior health and mental health involved in it because their risk of relapse is so high."

Dr. Bonebrake says knowing if mom uses any sort of opioid is key.

That way once the baby is born, doctors can monitor the infant closely to see if it is has an symptoms of opioid withdraw like tremors, jitteriness or irritability. 

If you or someone you know needs help battling addiction click here for more information. 

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