Opioid Use After a C-Section

Person holding their baby while thinking about their opioid use after C-section surgery

Prescription opioid abuse has reached an all-time high. New mothers are joining the ranks of people developing addiction accidentally addicts, as most are prescribed too many opioids for C-section pain. Birth by Cesarean section (C-section) has been rising steadily for decades, and it is ranked as the most common major surgery among women in the United States. More than 1.2 million women undergo C-sections in the U.S. annually, which is almost 32% of all births in this country.

Because C-section delivery side effects can be intensely painful, it’s a common practice for obstetricians and hospitals to give postpartum mothers opioids after Cesarean sections. These include powerful prescription medications, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, to help them manage pain after C-sections. Many new mothers are increasingly becoming exposed to potentially addictive medications after C-sections. The problem is not that they are getting pain medicine. It’s that they may be getting too much of it.

If you or someone you know is a new mother struggling with opioid abuse, contact The Right Step in Texas at 17135283709. Learn more about opioid use after C-section and how our opioid addiction treatment program can help.

What Are the Risks of Opioid Use After C-section?

Giving birth hurts, no matter how a baby is delivered. But it’s especially painful to also recover from surgery after C-section. While no one will deny that mothers suffering from C-section delivery side effects require pain medicine, there is a concern about giving more pills than needed.

Experts are concerned that giving new moms more pills than needed can result in them consuming more medicine than is required, leading to opioid misuse and abuse. With the stress and demands of caring for new babies, moms may become dependent on the medication and need opioid addiction treatment before realizing it. The spectrum of potential problems is wide-ranging and can also affect more than new mothers, especially if any of the following situations happen:

  • Giving leftover pain pills to other people that don’t need them medically
  • Keeping pain pills in unsecured places, risking accidental ingestion by small children in households
  • Not disposing of excess medication properly, like dropping prescriptions off at medication drives

In general, research shows addiction and other problems can develop when there is a surplus of pain medicine, and prescribed opioids can be a gateway drug to heroin.

What Are Alternatives to Opioids for C-Section Pain?

Given that C-section is one of the most common inpatient surgeries in the U.S., experts believe that obstetricians need more education and guidance in prescribing the right amount of medicine and avoiding excess pills. Although opioids are the gold standard for treating post-surgical pain, medical professionals are exploring ways to utilize non-opioid alternatives for pain management. Some non-opioid options for C-section pain management include the following:

  • Acetaminophen
  • Ibuprofen
  • Epidural anesthesia
  • Local anesthesia

However, there is no one-size-fits-all alternative approach to pain management. Considering each new mom’s needs can help doctors prescribe a healthier course than opioids after Cesarean section delivery. In addition to these pain management options, new mothers can make some adjustments in their daily lives to help ease C-section recovery, like using a pillow for support when they cough or sneeze and moving around as much as possible to increase circulation.

Find an Opioid Addiction Treatment Program at The Right Step in Texas

If you or someone you know is a new mother struggling with opioid use after C-section surgery, contact The Right Step in Texas today at 17135283709. Our caring and knowledgeable intake coordinators can help assess your unique situation concerning opioids for C-section pain and connect you with one of our opioid addiction treatment programs.

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