Reduce Maternal Deaths by Targeting Causes - 04/13/2017
Tragically, suicide is one of the top causes of maternal deaths in Texas, underscoring the need for prenatal and postpartum care to ensure women are screened and referred to mental health services before symptoms get worse.
Substance abuse is another significant contributor to maternal mortality, with the nationwide opioid epidemic fueling the crisis. Opioid use among U.S. pregnant women increased fivefold between 2000 and 2009. Opioids are a drug class that includes prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine, and illicit substances such as heroin. As opioid use has increased, we have seen a parallel increase in the incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) among newborns — a neonatal drug-withdrawal condition primarily caused by the mother using opioids. NAS has become a public health concern in Texas: between 2010 and 2014, rates of NAS in Texas increased by 51.3 percent.