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Women’s health & midwifery
Uncovering the use and misuse of opioid analgesia in a pregnant and non-pregnant female population
  1. Martin Galligan
  1. Royal Marsden School, Royal Marsden Hospital, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Martin Galligan, Royal Marsden School, London SW3 6JJ, UK; martin.galligan{at}

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Commentary on: St Marie B, Coleman L, Vignato JA, et al. Use and misuse of opioid pain medications by pregnant and nonpregnant women. Pain Manag Nurs. 2019;S1524-904218:30550-2. doi: 10.1016/j.pmn.2019.05.002.

Implications for practice and research

  • The use and misuse of opioids in the last year, including pregnancy, is high and this is significantly higher in white women compared to other ethnic groups.

  • Although the incidence of opioid misuse is low within 30 days of pregnancy, there is a need for risk stratification in order to identify opioid use early and to develop approached support and education for this population.


The use of opioids in today’s society has grown significantly in the last decade and, along with this, so has the incidence of opioid misuse, this increase in the use and misuse of opioids has also impacted pregnant woman.1 A large study of 1.1 million pregnant women found that one in five accessed an opioid prescription during their pregnancy. …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.