New and expectant mothers face unique challenges when seeking treatment for an opioid use disorder. On top of preparing for motherhood, expectant mothers often face barriers to accessing treatment, which typically involves taking safer opioids to reduce dependency over time. The approach is called medication assisted therapy, or MAT, and is a key component in most opioid treatment programs.
But with pregnant women, providers can be hesitant to administer opiate-based drugs.
According to a study out of Vanderbilt University, pregnant women are 20% more likely to be denied medication assisted therapy than non-pregnant women.
“In the beginning, I was so scared as a new provider to write my first prescription for medication assisted therapy to pregnant women,” said Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak of the Wright Center for Community Health in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
The health center serves low-income individuals who are underinsured or lack insurance altogether, many of whom struggle with opioid