New mothers are challenged by the risks that come with being prescribed opioids following childbirth, specifically after Cesarean sections (C-section). According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology, one in every 300 women who has never taken an opioid before giving birth will continue to take opioids a year after surgery.
It's possible to perform C-sections without the use of opioids— and BSA is on board.
“We use a multimodal approach to pain that limits our patients’ exposure to opioids in an attempt to decrease uncomfortable side effects and the potential for long term addiction,” explained BSA Pharmacy Clinical Coordinator Amber Elliott, PharmD, BCPS.
Multimodal pain management is a patient-friendly technique that uses multiple non-opioid medications to target various areas in the body and nervous system at once that are causing pain, reducing the need for opioids.
Elliot says that BSA’s providers are on board with this initiative.
“Our OB/GYN providers have really embraced this initiative with 50% of our C-section patients receiving a multimodal approach to pain,” Elliot said. “Approximately 25% of our C-section patients actually go through their entire stay opioid-free.”
Along with reducing a patient’s dependence on opioids for pain relief, opioid-free C-sections offer a variety of additional benefits for the patient.
“Anecdotally, these patients experience fewer side effects and meet milestones more quickly,” Elliot said. This allows mothers to have more significant time bonding with their baby.”
There are many opioid alternatives women can consider for their birth plan, such as taking non-inflammatory drugs, such as Ibuprofen or practicing relaxation techniques.
Expectant mothers can take steps to reduce their exposure to opioids by talking with their provider about pain management options and creating a birth plan.
For questions or to schedule a tour of the BSA Labor and Delivery department, call 806-212-2229.