Rural mothers giving birth to more babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome, research finds

The amount of infants born with neonatal abstinence syndrome in rural areas is on the rise, according to research from Minneapolis-based University of Minnesota.  

Here are three things to know:

1. For the study, researchers examined maternal and infant records for childbirths among rural residents between 2007-14. The analysis included 942,798 rural mothers and 981,090 rural infants.

2. The study found maternal opioid use disorder and NAS diagnosis are increasing among rural residents, and opioid-affected births are more common in all hospital settings including rural, urban, teaching and non-teaching facilities.

3. Rural patients giving birth in urban teaching hospitals had the highest rate of maternal OUD diagnoses. Rural women with OUD and other clinical complications were more likely to give birth in urban teaching hospitals. About 48 percent of rural mothers with both OUD and a preterm delivery gave birth in rural hospitals, which highlights the need for all hospitals to be prepared to treat patients' complex health needs.

"Some of these rural moms, especially those with clinical complications, give birth in urban, teaching hospitals, often far from home," Katy Kozhimannil, PhD, associate professor at University of Minnesota's School of Public Health and director of the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center, said in a press release. "Yet, our study findings show that more than 60 percent of rural moms with opioid use disorder give birth locally. These rural hospitals may have more limited capacity to care for them and their babies."

More articles on opioids:

Washington county deploys natural disaster strategy for opioid epidemic
President Trump signs opioid bill into law; 21 companies pledge support
CMS rolls out payment model for pregnant women with opioid use disorder

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