A review of nonpharmacological adjunctive treatment for postpartum women with opioid use disorder

Alaina Martinez, Alicia Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Introduction: Over the past decade, opioid use disorder (OUD) among pregnant women has increased by over 400%. Although medication assisted treatment (MAT) provides necessary care for women with OUD, effective adjunctive nonpharmacological treatments have not been systematically identified. This is especially concerning for the postpartum period, which includes several unique risk factors (e.g., sleep deprivation, mood disturbances) for MAT non-adherence and relapse. This review summarizes the existing knowledge regarding nonpharmacological treatments for OUD during the postpartum period, as well as provides recommendations for the future. Methods: PubMed and PsycINFO were searched in July 2018 using combinations of 28 keywords. Eligibility criteria included: (1) coverage of postpartum period, (2) use of nonpharmacological treatment for OUD, (3) conducted in clinical samples, and (4) written in English. Results: A total of 4 out of 38 identified articles met eligibility criteria. Two of the studies offered weekly on-site group counseling, with one also offering monthly social worker meetings. The third study offered four sessions with a patient navigator during the postpartum period. The last offered an employment intervention. All four reported favorable effects on OUD at end of follow-up (range: 30 days postpartum to 1 year postpartum). However, the details of the interventions, methodologies, and abstinence rates were sparse. Discussion: Few published studies examine nonpharmacological OUD treatments specific to the postpartum period. Identification of adjunctive nonpharmacological treatments designed to the unique needs of postpartum women is of critical public health importance, and further research is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106323
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • Multidisciplinary treatment
  • Nonpharmacological treatment
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Postpartum
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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