Purpose: Opioid-dependent pregnant women are characterized by drug use during pregnancy and deficits in knowledge of newborn care and feeding, and of child development. We assessed parenting skills and concerns among pregnant women in buprenorphine treatment for prescription opioid dependence.
Study Design and Methods: We interviewed 32 pregnant women who received buprenorphine treatment for prescription opioid dependence in a primary care setting and administered questionnaires, including the Adult-Adolescent Parenting Inventory version 2 (AAPI-2) and Childhood Experience of Care and Abuse Questionnaire.
Results: AAPI-2 scores revealed medium risk of abuse for all five scales: inappropriate expectations of the child, low level of empathy, strong belief in corporal punishment, reversal of parent–child roles, and oppression of children's power and independence. Primary concerns of participants were neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and their child's health. Pregnant women who received buprenorphine for treatment of prescription opioid dependence showed a lack of appropriate parenting skills, but did not express concern about their ability to parent.
Clinical Implications: Our findings suggest a need for nurses to assist prescription opioid-dependent pregnant women in acquiring additional parenting skills, to refer for educational parenting intervention, and to educate patients about NAS.
Pregnant women who are addicted to prescription opioids have educational needs related to parenting skills and care for a baby that may have neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). A buprenorphine treatment program can decrease risk of NAS and offers the opportunity for referral to parenting programs.
Rachel A. Rizzo is a Research Associate and Practice Facilitator at the Department of Family Medicine, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY.
Anne M. Neumann is a Post-doctoral Research Associate (at the time of this study) at the Department of Family Medicine, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY. She can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Stella O.C. King is the Family Medicine Clerkship Director and Clinical Assistant Professor at the Department of Family Medicine, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY. University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY.
Robert F. Hoey is a Research Assistant (at the time this study was done) at the Department of Family Medicine, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY.
Deborah S. Finnell is an Associate Professor at the The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD.
Richard D. Blondell is a Professor at the Department of Family Medicine, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.