Care Experiences of Persons with Perinatal Opioid Use: A Qualitative Study

Lisa M. Blair, Kristin Ashford, Lauren Gentry, Sarah Bell, Amanda Fallin-Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Opioid use in the perinatal period has escalated rapidly, with potentially devastating outcomes for perinatal persons and infants. Substance use treatment is effective and has the potential to greatly improve clinical outcomes; however, characteristics of care received from providers including nurses have been described as a barrier to treatment. Our purpose was to describe supportive perinatal care experiences of persons with opioid use disorder. A qualitative descriptive study design was used to examine experiences of 11 postpartum persons (ages 22-36 years) in medication-Assisted treatment for opioid use disorder at an academic medical center in the southern region of the United States. Participants were interviewed about experiences with perinatal and neonatal care during the child's hospitalization for neonatal abstinence syndrome surveillance and/or treatment. Four themes of supportive care experiences emerged: informing, relating, accepting, and holistic supporting. Participants reported a range of positive and negative perinatal care experiences, with examples and counterexamples provided. This fuller understanding of perceptions and lived experiences of care can inform practice changes and educational/training priorities. Future research is needed to facilitate development of comprehensive care models geared to address perinatal care needs of persons with opioid use disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-329
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This publication was made possible by grant number 1D1CMS331140-04-00 from the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or any of its agencies. The research presented here was conducted by the awardee. Findings might or might not be consistent with or confirmed by the findings of the independent evaluation contractor.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. All rights reserved.


  • opioid-related disorders
  • patient-centered care
  • perinatal care
  • social stigma
  • substance-related disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Critical Care
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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