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Community Health

Report: More Than 3,700 Pregnant Missouri Women and Mothers Hospitalized for Opioid Abuse

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A new report found that more than 3,700 pregnant women and new mothers were hospitalized in Missouri for opioid abuse in the past two years.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Missouri Hospital Association research indicates that the number of babies born suffering withdrawal symptoms could be underreported. State data has identified more than 1,080 newborns diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome during 2016 and 2017.

Babies with the syndrome are more likely to be small and have respiratory issues, feeding problems, jaundice and seizures.

Association President Herb Kuhn says "the existing data didn't correlate well with what clinicians were reporting from the front lines of care."

The report says providing treatment to low-income, uninsured women of childbearing age with substance use disorder prior to pregnancy could reduce costs of caring for exposed newborns.