The number of women with opioid-related diagnoses in the United States has significantly increased in recent decades, resulting in concomitantly higher rates of infants born with neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS). Addressing prenatal opioid exposure is a priority for Alaska health systems. The objectives of this study were to: (1) identify maternal and neonatal factors associated with receipt of Medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) and (2) determine the impact of prenatal MOUD on discharge to parents among infants with NOWS in 3 Alaska hospitals.
A retrospective chart review using a standard abstraction form was conducted to collect data on neonatal and maternal characteristics, neonatal treatment, and infant discharge disposition for infants with NOWS born at the 3 hospitals between July 2016 and December 2019. A multivariable logistic regression model was used to determine factors associated with discharge to parents.
There were 10,719 births at the 3 hospitals during the study period, including 193 infants (1.8%) with NOWS. Among the 193 mothers, 91 (47.2%) received MOUD during pregnancy. Among infants with NOWS, 136 (70.5%) were discharged to parents, 51 (26.4%) were discharged to a relative or foster care. Infants were significantly (odds ratio 3.9) more likely to be discharged to parents if the mother had received prenatal MOUD.
MOUD among pregnant women with opioid use disorder furthers the goal of keeping families together and is a critical step towards reducing the impact of the ongoing opioid epidemic on Alaska families, communities, and the child welfare system.