Women & Infants Hospital in Providence has announced a new program to treat pregnant women who are addicted to opioids.
It’s called Moms MATTER. It’ll offer the standard medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction, but tailored specifically toward pregnant women.
Dr. Anupriya Gogne is directing the new program. She says pregnant women have unique concerns that a typical drug treatment program might not be able to address.
“Our goal is to give them everything in one place and make the access easier and more comfortable,” Gogne said. “We can engage more and more women, and they can stay engaged.”
One of those other services is helping mothers care for newborns diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS. That’s when a baby is born in withdrawal from drugs they were exposed to in the womb. The opioid epidemic has fueled a huge uptick in cases of NAS. In the decade from 2004 to 2014, the incidence of NAS saw a five-fold increase. One study last year found that in the United States a baby showing symptoms of NAS is born every 15 minutes.
Gogne said that for pregnant women, there’s a unique sort of stigma that other people struggling with substance use disorder don’t necessarily face.
“No woman wants to intentionally hurt the baby,” Gogne said. “They want to do what is right. But these illnesses are so severe -- just like any other medical illness is.”
Gogne added that this program is a way to intervene early to stop the “intergenerational transmission of trauma.” If left untreated, she said, it can lead to future health troubles for both the mother and the baby.