Opioid Use While Pregnant and Alternative Therapies for Pain Treatment

Women with opioid use disorder and dependency tend to face complex issues, including but not limited to: 

  • Socioeconomic background
  • Psychosocial and environmental factors
  • Interpersonal violence
  • Lack of social supports
  • Co-occurring psychiatric conditions
  • Unstable housing
  • Lack of proper nutrition
  • Pregnancy

Pregnant women who suffer from opioid use disorder are likely to also use other substances that prenatally put an infant at risk for a wide range of physical, mental, cognitive and behavioral conditions. Research shows that opioid use disorder is most effectively treated with the help of medications, but that methadone does not provide an optimal outcome for a newborn child regarding neonatal withdrawal. 

Opioid Use Disorder During Pregnancy

The Maternal Opioid Treatment Health Education Recovery (MOTHER) Program was developed at High Risk Pregnancy Center to provide women with an option for medication assisted treatment (MAT) that is safe and effective. These women are treated using buprenorphine or naltrexone while also receiving specialized maternal fetal medicine needed for their at-risk pregnancy. 

Opioid Dependency and Pain Treatment 

Just because a pregnant woman is prescribed opioids for pain management under a physician’s care does not necessarily make that prescription safe. Opioids—hydrocodone, morphine, Dilaudid, Demerol, codeine, oxycodone, heroin, fentanyl and others—are highly addictive and can be used by prescribers in a way that leads to physical dependency and increases the risk of substance abuse potential. The MOTHER Program provides education on potentially transitioning from prescription opioids to buprenorphine or naltrexone and safely tapering during pregnancy if desired. 

Meet the Team 

Psychiatrist – Dr. Farzad Kamyar 

As the collaborative-care psychiatrist overseeing all aspects of the MOTHER Program, Dr. Kamyar ensures that every patient receives the utmost excellence of care based upon principles known as “evidenced-based medicine.” This means that you can be certain the care you receive is the best, most effective treatment available for you and your baby. Using this process also helps to remove some of the stigma associated with opioid use disorder. Dr. Kamyar is a firm believer that our approach to providing care should be no different than for other chronic diseases—like diabetes or hypertension—and should be nonjudgmental, compassionate and empathic. 

Behavioral Health Program Director – Janine DiBuduo

As the director of our Behavioral Health Program, Janine assists with facilitating wraparound services based on a patient’s individual needs. She coordinates medication-assisted treatment, high-risk pregnancy care, behavioral health services, treatment for co-occurring disorders, aftercare planning, patient education, screenings and biopsychosocial assessments. Janine also coordinates help from outside resources and helps navigate each patient’s treatment goals. She ensures that the patient is the captain of their ship, and I am utilized to help navigate them towards maximizing their success in treatment. For assistance, Janine can be reached on her direct line at (702) 940-3266 or by email at [email protected].

Peer Recovery Support Specialist – Ashley Robinson

Our Peer Recovery Support specialist is a role model for personal recovery and how to apply coping skills by serving as an advocate who provides contemporary support for the women in the MOTHER Program. Although the MOTHER Program is conducted in an office-based outpatient setting, Ashley is always available throughout the day by cell at (702) 931-0759 to assist with crises and social issues, to address triggers for illicit use, and for questions or concerns.  

All members of your treatment team are collaboratively here to support you toward living a healthy lifestyle for you and your baby.