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Outcomes Associated with the Use of Medications for OUD During Pregnancy

September 14, 2021

Elizabeth Krans, MD, assistant professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, is first author on a recently published study on outcomes associated with the use of medications for opioid use disorder (OUD) during pregnancy. 

Published in Addiction, the study found that longer duration of medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) use during pregnancy appears to be associated with improved maternal and perinatal outcomes.  

“Pregnant women with substance use disorders often face profound social, economic, and physical challenges, which require a multi-faceted approach to health care delivery,” said Dr. Krans. “Our work focuses on developing interventions that account for these complexities and capitalize on the inherent desire during pregnancy to improve health-related behaviors.”

Researchers examined five outcomes during pregnancy and for 12 weeks postpartum: overdose, postpartum MOUD continuation, preterm birth, term low birth weight, and neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). 

The study showed that as the duration of MOUD use increased, there was a significant decrease in the rate of overdose and preterm birth, an increase in the rate of postpartum MOUD continuation and NAS, and a decline in term low birth weight. 

In addition, for each week of MOUD, the odds of overdose death decreased by 2% and preterm birth decreased by 1%; postpartum MOUD continuation increased by 95% and NAS increased by 41%; and term low birth weight did not change. 

Learn more here


Krans EE, Kim JY, Chen Q, Rothenberger SD, James AE 3rd, Kelley D, Jarlenski MP. Outcomes associated with the use of medications for opioid use disorder during pregnancy. Addiction. 2021 May 25. doi: 10.1111/add.15582. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34033170.

About Dr. Krans

Elizabeth Krans, MD, is an assistant professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences with a focus on the relationship between obstetric care uses and maternal and neonatal outcomes in women with substance use disorder. Learn more about Dr. Krans’ research and her work in the Pregnancy Recovery Center at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital.