Maternal treatment with opioid analgesics during pregnancy and risk for preterm birth or low birth weight Open Access

Peters, Stacey (2012)

Permanent URL:


Introduction: Opioid analgesic medications are taken for pain management; their effects
on infant gestational age and birth weight, when exposed in utero, are largely unknown.
The purpose of this study was to describe the prevalence of opioid analgesic treatment
during pregnancy and examine the relationship between maternal treatment and
differences in infant gestational age and birth weight.
Methods: The National Birth Defects Prevention Study, an ongoing population-based
case-control study for 1997 to 2007, was used for the analyses. The prevalence of opioid
treatment was estimated for women from three months prior to pregnancy to delivery.
Crude and adjusted linear and logistic regression models were used to examine the
relationship between treatment during pregnancy (for three treatment lengths) and 1)
birth weight among term births, 2) gestational age, and 3) preterm birth.
Results: The prevalence of opioid treatment just before or during pregnancy was found
to be 5%. Of those, 54% were treated for ≤ 7 days. Treatment for any length of time or
>7 days was statistically significantly associated with a decrease in gestational age among
exposed infants, ¼ of a week decrease for any treatment length and ½ a week decrease
for >7 days of treatment. Treatment for any length was not statistically significantly
associated with a decrease in birth weight, but there was a borderline significant increase
in the risk for preterm birth (aOR (95% CI): 1.4 (1.0, 2.1)).
Conclusion: Maternal treatment with opioid analgesics during pregnancy, particularly
with longer treatment duration, has a possible relationship with decreased gestational age,
but the decrease is not drastic. These data are not consistent with an association between
opioid treatment and low birth weight among term births.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
ChapterI:Background/LiteratureReview pg.1
Chapter II: Manuscript
Title, Authors and Abstract pg.9
Introduction pg.10
Methods pg.11
Results pg.16
Discussion pg.21
References pg.27
Tables pg.32
Figures pg.40
Chapter III: Summary/Public Health Implications/Possible Future Directions pg. 42

About this Master's Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
  • English
Research Field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Partnering Agencies
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files