Clinical Edge

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Opioid Prescriptions Following Vaginal Delivery

Obstet Gynecol; ePub 2017 Feb 6; Jarlenski, et al

Greater than 10% of Medicaid-enrolled women fill an outpatient opioid prescription after vaginal delivery, a recent study found. This retrospective cohort study included 164,720 Medicaid-enrolled women who delivered a liveborn neonate vaginally from 2008 to 2013, excluding women who used opioids during pregnancy or who had an opioid use disorder. Researchers found:

  • 12% (n=18,131) of women filled an outpatient opioid prescription ≤5 days after vaginal delivery; of these, 14% (n=2,592) filled a second opioid prescription 6-60 days after delivery.
  • 5,110 (28.2%) women had ≥1 pain-inducing condition.
  • Predictors of filled opioid prescriptions with no observed pain-inducing condition at delivery included tobacco use and a mental health condition.
  • A diagnosis of substance abuse disorder other than opioid use was associated with having a second opioid prescription 6-60 days after delivery, but not at ≤5 days.


Jarlenski M, Bodnar LM, Kim JY, Donohue J, Krans EE, Bogen DL. Filled prescriptions for opioids after vaginal delivery. [Published online ahead of print February 6, 2017]. Obstet Gynecol. doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000001868.