Opioids Not Only Option for Pain Relief After Cesarean Delivery

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Cristina Wood, MD
Obstetric and Fetal Anesthesiologist
Children’s Hospital Colorado

Dr. Wood

PainRelief.com:  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

Response: ​We all know that opiate abuse is a national crisis, but also is one of the top causes of maternal mortality in the state of Colorado. At the Colorado Fetal Care Center at Children’s Hospital Colorado, we wanted to see what we could do to reduce the need for opiate medications after cesarean delivery. We started by using wound soakers to reduce the opiate requirement and demonstrated an almost 30% reduction in postoperative opiate use. Then, when the Society of Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology (SOAP) published guidelines for Early Recovery

After Cesarean (ERAC), we incorporated these into our practice to determine if these interventions would decrease the opiate requirements further. We were so pleased to see that we could further reduce the opiate need for our moms postoperatively. In fact, we reduced it by approximately 80%, with 1/3 of our patients never taking a single narcotic medication after cesarean delivery. 

PainRelief.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: There are many ways to approach pain control after a cesarean delivery and it does not need to be solely opiate based. Please talk with your physician(s) to determine the best treatment for you.  

PainRelief.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: We are constantly evaluating other non-opiate medications for pain control and will plan to perform additional studies as new opportunities present themselves. I think there is much more we can do with non-pharmacologic and/or non-opiate treatments to reduce pain postoperatively; we are actively researching these now.  


“Enhanced Recovery After Cesarean Delivery Pathway Reduces Opioid Consumption,” was presented at the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine’s 41st Annual Pregnancy Meeting on Jan. 28, 2021.

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