These painkillers are prescribed to new mamas for anything from perineal tears to C-section incisions. The potential for developing a habit is huge and spikes every day you use them. Abuse, addiction, and even death are all part of the opioid epidemic that is spreading worldwide. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), more than 130 people die in the United States every day from an overdose of opioids. These issues don’t seem like they belong in the same place as a beautiful new family with their whole lives in front of them. Unfortunately, that’s where they are found all too often.
Between 2008 and 2016 Jama Network Open studied 300,000 women that were prescribed opioids after childbirth. Of those 300,000 new moms, 6,000 of them showed “persistent” opioid use by refilling their prescriptions beyond the average time a woman recovers from most postpartum pains. (what is the time period?)
Misuse and addiction aside, opioids can cause a person to feel drowsy, delirious, dizzy and nauseous… all of these things are distracting and can take away from the ability to care for a baby.
(I would also add a section on how the opioids impact the baby)
New mothers that are prescribed opioids may have never been exposed to their dangers. It’s easy to accept whatever a medical professional tells you to do. (maybe say something like they have the best intentions to manage your pain and may not be aware of safer alternatives. Also. the drug companies have been telling doctors and patients for decades that opioids are safe and non-addictive, so really the fault lies with them and not your well meaning provider) This can make things like heavy pain medication seem absolutely normal and enjoyable.
Postpartum women are especially vulnerable to misusing their pain meds. The prevalence of postpartum depression and even the “baby blues” increases the chances of substance abuse. Turning to drugs to lessen feelings of sadness or loneliness is extremely common. Developing an addiction and not dealing with mental health issues in a proper way can set a person up for a lifetime of problems. (Talk about how this crosses educational, racial and socioeconomic lines)
Substance abuse can also come on by accident. A new mom is already tired and it sometimes can feel like the days blend together those first weeks postpartum. How easy would it be to forget how much you took or when you took it? (good point!)
Knowing that you will be dealing with pain postpartum can be scary. Setting up a plan to manage that pain is necessary and will set your mind at ease. Talking with your doctor about options and their risks and benefits is always a good idea. We want every mama to be as comfortable as possible after birth and that comfort doesn’t necessarily have to come from a prescription bottle. The world of sports technology has long been using pain relief approaches that do not require medication to treat athletes. Compression, support, icing, and heating are beloved methods used by professionals… so we applied this to postpartum care! Every mama’s journey is different so we encourage you to listen to your body and talk to your doctor if anything is not working for you.
Our dream is to make every new mama happy, healthy and feeling her best – our dream is to raise the standard of postpartum care.
(Be more informative about soft tissue swelling management and how important support/compression and ice are to managing tissue trauma. I would also talk about how everyone thinks about supporting the stomach but they often forget about the most important part…the pelvic floor. Every new mama has some level of pelvic floor dysfunction, even if she had a c-section. Like how common incontinence is here in women childbearing age and older. Maybe make a comment about how young the models are in the Depends ads today. They are trying to “Normalize” it and we are trying to prevent it.