Data and Statistics About Opioid Use During Pregnancy

Timely data help drive public health action for optimal care of pregnant women and children with prenatal exposure to opioids.

Opioid Use

Women of reproductive age

About 1 in 3 women of reproductive age filled an opioid prescription each year between 2008 and 2012. [Read article]

illustration showing on in three women
During pregnancy

According to 2019 self-reported data, about 7% of women reported using prescription opioid pain relievers during pregnancy. Of those, 1 in 5 reported misuse of prescription opioids, defined as getting them from a non-healthcare source or using them for a reason other than to relieve pain. [Read article]

An estimated 14%–22% of women filled an opioid prescription during pregnancy. [Read summary 1external icon (data from 2000-2007)] [Read summary 2external icon (data from 2005-2011)]

Opioid use disorder at delivery

Maternal opioid use disorder rates at delivery have more than quadrupled from 1999 to 2014. [Read article]

Bar chart showing that opioid use disorder rates at delivery have more than quadrupled from 1999 to 2014

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)

According to 2016 data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Projectexternal icon (HCUP), which is managed by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, seven newborns were diagnosed with NAS for every 1,000 newborn hospital stays. That is approximately one baby diagnosed with NAS every 19 minutes in the United States, or nearly 80 newborns diagnosed every day.

Costs of NAS

Care of babies diagnosed with NAS can be costly to the healthcare system.  [Read articleexternal icon]

According to 2016 HCUP dataexternal icon,

  • The cost of a hospital stay for a newborn with NAS was $9,500 in 2016, compared with $1,100 for other newborn hospital stays—a nearly 9-times increase in cost.
  • The average length of stay for a newborn with NAS was 12 days in 2016, compared with 2 days for other newborn hospital stays—a 6-times increase in length of stay.
Neonatal abstinence syndrome by state

According to 2016 HCUP dataexternal icon, the occurrence of NAS ranged from a low of one newborn diagnosed with NAS per 1,000 newborn hospital stays (District of Columbia) to a high of 48 newborns diagnosed with NAS per 1,000 newborn hospital stays (West Virginia). To learn more, use this interactive map of NASexternal icon to search by state.

Page last reviewed: August 13, 2020