Medication-Assisted Recovery During Pregnancy

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Substance use disorders among pregnant women are a growing public health concern in the United States. According to recent studies, pregnant women are more likely than non-pregnant women to die of drug overdoses, yet they are less likely to receive treatment for their substance use disorders. Access to effective treatment for pregnant women is critical to improving maternal and fetal health outcomes and reducing maternal and infant mortality rates.

In response to this urgent need, the White House has launched several initiatives to improve access to medication-assisted recovery for pregnant women with substance use disorders. This article will discuss the recent White House efforts to improve access to medicine for pregnant women, the benefits of medication-assisted treatment, and what medication-assisted recovery may look like for pregnant clients.

White House Initiatives to Improve Access to Medication-Assisted Recovery for Pregnant Women

The White House has recognized the urgent need to improve access to medication-assisted recovery for pregnant women with substance use disorders. The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, signed into law in 2018, includes several provisions aimed at addressing the opioid epidemic and improving access to treatment for individuals with substance use disorders, including pregnant women. The act provides funding for states to expand access to medication-assisted treatment, which combines medication with counseling and behavioral therapies to treat substance use disorders.

Another initiative launched by the White House is the Maternal Opioid Misuse (MOM) Model, which aims to improve care for pregnant and postpartum women with opioid use disorders. The MOM Model provides funding to states and health care providers to implement evidence-based practices to improve the quality of care and outcomes for pregnant women with opioid use disorders. The model also aims to reduce the use of opioids during pregnancy and ensure that women receive appropriate treatment for their substance use disorders.

These initiatives represent a significant step towards improving access to effective treatment for pregnant women with substance use disorders. By increasing funding for medication-assisted recovery and supporting evidence-based practices, the White House is working to address the barriers that pregnant women face in accessing treatment for their substance use disorders.

Medication-Assisted Recovery for Pregnant Clients

Medication-assisted recovery is an effective treatment option for pregnant women with substance use disorders. This treatment approach involves using an opioid agonist medication combined with counseling and behavioral therapies to treat substance use disorders. These medications work by reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings, which can help pregnant women to avoid relapses and stay engaged in treatment.

Long-acting opioid agonists have been used for decades to treat opioid addiction. Clients take this medication orally to help to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms without producing the euphoric effects of other opioids. Long-acting opioid agonists have been shown to be safe and effective for pregnant women with opioid use disorders and can improve outcomes for both the mother and the fetus.

Providers can also prescribe partial opioid agonists to treat opioid addiction. They are taken sublingually and can help to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Clients using this type of medication have a lower risk of overdose than those using long-acting opioid agonists. Providers can also prescribe this medication in an office-based setting, making it a more accessible treatment option for pregnant women.

Both of these medications have been shown to be safe and effective for pregnant women with substance use disorders. These medications can help to reduce the risk of relapse, improve engagement in treatment, and improve maternal and fetal health outcomes. Counseling and behavioral therapies are also important components of medication-assisted recovery for pregnant women, as they can help to address underlying issues that may contribute to substance use disorders and support long-term recovery.

Benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment for Pregnant Women

Studies show that medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is effective for pregnant women with substance use disorders. MAT can improve maternal and fetal health outcomes, reduce the risk of relapse, and increase the likelihood of successful recovery.

Improved Maternal and Fetal Health Outcomes

Pregnant women with substance use disorders are at increased risk for adverse outcomes, including preterm labor, low birth weight, and neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), which occurs when infants experience withdrawal symptoms after birth. MAT can help to reduce the risk of these adverse outcomes and improve the overall health of both the mother and the fetus.

Reduced Risk of Relapse

Relapse can be especially dangerous for pregnant women, as it can increase the risk of overdose and other adverse outcomes. MAT can help to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, making it easier for pregnant women to stay engaged in treatment and avoid relapse.

Increased Likelihood of Successful Recovery

Counseling and behavioral therapies are an important component of MAT, as they can help to address underlying issues that may contribute to substance use disorders and support long-term recovery. By combining medication with counseling and behavioral therapies, MAT can help pregnant women to achieve and maintain long-term recovery, improving outcomes for both the mother and the child.

Barriers to Medication-Assisted Treatment for Pregnant Women

Despite the benefits of medication-assisted treatment for pregnant women with substance use disorders, several barriers can prevent pregnant women from accessing this type of treatment.

Stigma

Pregnant women with substance use disorders may be stigmatized and face judgment from healthcare providers, family members, and the broader community. This stigma can make it difficult for pregnant women to seek treatment and can prevent them from accessing effective treatment options like MAT.

Lack of Access

Due to financial or logistical barriers, pregnant women with substance use disorders may not have access to healthcare services, including medication-assisted treatment. This can prevent pregnant women from receiving the care they need to manage their substance use disorders and can contribute to poor maternal and fetal health outcomes. CCBHCs aim to mitigate this risk.

Insurance Coverage

Some insurance plans may not cover medication-assisted treatment or may limit coverage, making it difficult for pregnant women to access this type of treatment. This can create financial barriers that prevent pregnant women from receiving the care they need to manage their substance use disorders.

Conclusion

There is a pressing need to ensure that pregnant women with substance use disorders have access to effective treatment options that can improve the health outcomes of both the mother and the fetus. Medication-assisted treatment is a particularly effective approach for this population. MAT can help reduce the risk of relapse, manage withdrawal symptoms, and support recovery. Removing barriers and increasing access to medication-assisted treatment is essential to ensure that all pregnant women with substance use disorders receive the care they need.

EchoVantage is uniquely positioned to help providers and organizations increase access to medication-assisted treatment for pregnant women with substance use disorders. With its comprehensive KPI tracking capabilities, EchoVantage can help organizations monitor key metrics such as adherence rates and health outcomes. Its visualizations provide insight into the overall health of an organization’s clients, helping to identify areas of improvement. Try a free demo of  EchoVantage to see how it can help your organization better serve pregnant women with substance use disorders.

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