U.S. health officials said they found a dramatic rise in the number of women who are addicted to opioids and delivering babies in hospitals.
Opioid use during pregnancy can cause death of the mother or baby, preterm birth, and infant withdrawal symptoms like seizures, excessive crying, and breathing problems.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied delivery hospitalizations in 28 states—the agency’s first study of the problem across multiple states. It released its findings Aug. 9.
In 1999, 1.5 of every 1,000 women coming to a hospital to deliver depended on or abused opioids.
That rose to 6.5 in 2014, the latest year for which data is available. That translates to nearly 25,000 deliveries across all 50 states that year.
Rates were highest in Vermont and West Virginia.