“As the U.S. opioid epidemic rages unchecked, new research shows that pregnancy-related deaths due to opioid misuse more than doubled between 2007 and 2016.
Deaths during or soon after pregnancy rose 34 percent during that time, and the percentage involving heroin, fentanyl or prescription painkillers (such as OxyContin) jumped from 4 percent to 10 percent, the researchers said.
The findings “largely confirmed our suspicions,” said study lead author Alison Gemmill, of Stony Brook University in New York.
“We know that opioid-related mortality has increased among all reproductive-aged women,” Gemmill said. It’s also known that the number of babies suffering from neonatal abstinence syndrome—because of opioid use during pregnancy—has increased dramatically in recent years, she added.”