Research Article| Volume 33, ISSUE 6, P592-597, November 2020

The labor and birth experience of women with opioid use disorder: A qualitative study

Published:January 24, 2020DOI:



      This study describes the experience of pregnancy and childbirth from the perspective of women with opioid use disorder.


      This qualitative study analyzed semi-structured interviews about the prenatal care and birth experience of nine women with opioid use disorder as a sub-analysis of a qualitative study of women with a history of sexual trauma. Transcripts were analyzed using inductive content analysis.


      Analysis revealed unique interactions with the healthcare system specific to pregnant women with opioid use disorder. Participants identified pregnancy as a reason to enter and maintain recovery and an increased availability of resources when pregnant. Yet during labor and birth, concerns regarding pain control, child protective services involvement and provider stigma led to negative interactions with the healthcare system.


      Pregnant woman with opioid use disorder face unique challenges when seeking care. The perspectives of women with a history of opioid use disorder can inform creation of a harm reduction, non-stigmatizing model of prenatal, labor and birth, and postpartum care.


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