Maternal prescribed opioid analgesic use during pregnancy and associations with adverse birth outcomes: A population-based study

Autoři: Ayesha C. Sujan aff001;  Patrick D. Quinn aff002;  Martin E. Rickert aff001;  Kelsey K. Wiggs aff001;  Paul Lichtenstein aff003;  Henrik Larsson aff003;  Catarina Almqvist aff003;  A. Sara Öberg aff003;  Brian M. D’Onofrio aff001
Působiště autorů: Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana, United States of America aff001;  Department of Applied Health Science, School of Public Health, Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana, United States of America aff002;  Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden aff003;  School of Medical Sciences, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden aff004;  Astrid Lindgren Children’s Hospital, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden aff005;  Department of Epidemiology, T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard, Boston, United States of America aff006
Vyšlo v časopise: Maternal prescribed opioid analgesic use during pregnancy and associations with adverse birth outcomes: A population-based study. PLoS Med 16(12): e32767. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1002980
Kategorie: Research Article



Published research on prescribed opioid analgesic (POA) use during pregnancy and birth outcomes is limited in scope and has not adequately adjusted for potential confounding factors. To help address these gaps, we estimated associations between maternal POAs during pregnancy and two adverse birth outcomes using a large population-based dataset, multiple definitions of POA exposure, and several methods to evaluate the influence of both measured and unmeasured confounding factors.

Methods and findings

We obtained data by linking information from several Swedish registers and conducted a retrospective cohort study on a population-based sample of 620,458 Swedish births occurring between 2007 and 2013 (48.6% female; 44.4% firstborn). We evaluated associations between prenatal POA exposure and risk for preterm birth (PTB; <37 gestational weeks) and small for gestational age (SGA; birth weight 2 standard deviations below the expected weight for gestational age or lower). We evaluated the influence of confounding by adjusting for a wide range of measured covariates while comparing exposed and unexposed infants. Additionally, we adjusted for unmeasured confounding factors by using several advanced epidemiological designs. Infants exposed to POAs anytime during pregnancy were at increased risk for PTB compared with unexposed infants (6.4% exposed versus 4.4% unexposed; adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 1.38, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.31–1.45, p < 0.001). This association was attenuated when we compared POA-exposed infants with acetaminophen-exposed infants (OR = 1.18, 95% CI 1.07–1.30, p < 0.001), infants born to women who used POAs before pregnancy only (OR = 1.05, 95% CI 0.96–1.14, p = 0.27), and unexposed siblings (OR = 0.99, 95% CI 0.85–1.14, p = 0.92). We also evaluated associations with short-term versus persistent POA use during pregnancy and observed a similar pattern of results, although the magnitudes of associations with persistent exposure were larger than associations with any use or short-term use. Although short-term use was not associated with SGA (adjusted ORsingle-trimester = 0.95, 95% CI 0.87–1.04, p = 0.29), persistent use was associated with increased risk for SGA (adjusted ORmultiple-trimester = 1.40, 95% CI 1.17–1.67, p < 0.001) compared with unexposed infants. The association with persistent exposure was attenuated when we used alternative comparison groups (e.g., sibling comparison OR = 1.22, 95% CI 0.60–2.48, p = 0.58). Of note, our study had limitations, including potential bias from exposure misclassification, an inability to adjust for all sources of confounding, and uncertainty regarding generalizability to countries outside of Sweden.


Our results suggested that observed associations between POA use during pregnancy and risk of PTB and SGA were largely due to unmeasured confounding factors, although we could not rule out small independent associations, particularly for persistent POA use during pregnancy.

Klíčová slova:

Analgesics – Birth – Drug therapy – Infants – Opioids – Pregnancy – Preterm birth – Sweden


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