Mishka Terplan, MD OBGYN-Psych

Opioid addiction comes with an inherent risk of overdose death. But for addicted women in the stressful months after childbirth, the odds of dying are much worse.

Sleep deprivation, dramatic hormonal shifts and the day-to-day realities of caring for an infant create enormous stress for all women, but especially for those who are struggling to stay in recovery from drug use.

“As a whole, women with substance use disorders do quite well during pregnancy, due in large extent to access to care, insurance coverage and attention from social services,” said Mishka Terplan, an obstetrics and gynecology physician at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine.

“Where things fall apart is postpartum. We actually abandon women after delivery,” he said.

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