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New research from Vanderbilt University suggests that early postpartum opioid use, regardless of delivery method, increases the risk of persistent opioid use among new mothers.
The researchers studied two groups of women who were prescribed opioids post-delivery, one who delivered via C-section and another who delivered vaginally. The risk of persistent opioid use was similar between delivery groups, and filling additional prescriptions for opioids in the postpartum period substantially increased this risk in both groups.
The researchers estimated that unless postpartum opioid prescribing practices are modified, around 21,000 women in the US could become chronic opioid users each year.
The researchers are urging obstetricians to be cautious when prescribing pain medicine that can be addictive after pregnancy and to explore alternative methods of pain management.
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