Rise in Meth and Opioid Use During Pregnancy

Author | Beata Mostafavi

Methamphetamine and opioid use in pregnancy has increased substantially in the United States, leading to a public health crisis that affects delivery and birth outcomes, according to a study led by Michigan Medicine. For each condition, a disproportionate rise occurred in rural compared with urban counties in three out of four census regions, says lead author Lindsay Admon (M.D. 2012, Residency 2016), assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and a graduate of the National Clinician Scholars Program at U-M's Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.

Among pregnant women in all parts of the country, methamphetamine-affected births doubled — from 1.2 per 1,000 hospitalizations in 2008–2009 to 2.4 in 2014–2015. The rate of opioid use quadrupled from 1.5 per 1,000 delivery hospitalizations in 2004–2005 to 6.5 in 2014–2015, according to the findings published in the American Journal of Public Health. The study sample included about 47 million deliveries in U.S. hospitals between 2004 and 2015.

The prevalence of each condition varied geographically. By 2014–2015, methamphetamine use was identified among approximately 1 percent of all deliveries in the rural Western U.S., which was higher than the incidence of opioid use in most regions. Opioid use affected 3 percent of all births in the rural Northeastern U.S. For pregnant women with methamphetamine use, the risk of severe maternal morbidity and mortality was 1.6 times the rate identified among moms with opioid use. The incidence of nearly all other health outcomes examined was also higher among deliveries to moms with methamphetamine use compared to opioid use. 


More Articles About: Opioids meth Pregnancy public health IHPI obstetrics and gynecology women’s health Addiction
Featured News & Stories pregnant stomach with yellow dots and blue undertone lab note
Health Lab
Few pregnant people who died of overdose, suicide in Michigan received proper treatment before death
A review of maternal deaths suggests most individuals had documented behavioral health conditions but only one-third received appropriate pharmacologic treatment before death
person pregnant holding stomach green shirt sleeveless
Health Lab
Including the patient voice when addressing racial disparities in maternal health
To address persistent racial disparities and inequities in maternal health in Black and low-income communities, centering the patient voice is key.
pregnant person holding feet on bed grey sweats
Health Lab
6 things to know about your feet during pregnancy
Pregnancies entail a myriad of changes to your body, with your feet being no exception. 
pregnancy lab notes
Health Lab
More than half of hospital-based maternal deaths occur at times other than childbirth
Study suggests hospital-based maternal deaths are occurring earlier in pregnancy or postpartum – while maternal deaths occurring at the time of delivery are declining in the U.S.
seflie with mom and two kids
Health Lab
Telemedicine visit identifies rare condition in young pregnant woman
After the diagnosis, Cristina Bashans was carefully monitored for a potentially life-threatening aortic aneurysm.
pregnancy lab notes
Health Lab
Stress, depression may be linked to harmful inflammation in Black pregnant women 
Study suggests Black pregnant individuals are more exposed to chronic social stressors that may increase their risk for negative health outcomes, racial disparities.