Considerations for Women and People who are Pregnant When Implementing MOUD Programs
Women with opioid use disorder (OUD) experience a different set of risk factors, consequences, and
barriers to accessing treatment for OUD compared to men. Because of the biological and sociological
differences between women and men, women stand to benefit from gender-responsive services. To improve
treatment for women, rural programs providing medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) can seek to
partner with a range of social service agencies that target women and families. These partnerships
may support training, referrals, and co-location of services for women. Rural MOUD programs can
ensure their policies and practices acknowledge gender differences.
There are also special considerations for treating pregnant people with OUD. Some medical providers
hesitate to prescribe medications to those who are pregnant due to concern of harming the fetus. This
may result in pregnant people avoiding medical care for OUD; however, data show that MOUD is an
effective approach to integrating prenatal care and treatment for OUD.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA)
clinical guidance indicates that healthcare providers should make individualized treatment
decisions when treating pregnant people. There are also state- and national-level guidelines for
treating pregnant people that rural MOUD programs should consider during implementation.
Resources to Learn More
Report: Opioid Use, Misuse, and Overdose in Women
Summarizes key findings from a 2016 national meeting of experts to examine the prevention, treatment,
and recovery concerns for women who misuse opioids, have OUD, and/or overdose on opioids.
Organization(s): Office on Women's Health (OWH)
Treatment in Pregnancy
Provides information on legislative trends regarding access to MOUD for pregnant women. Includes
considerations regarding program implementation, funding for treatment, provider awareness, and
future state policy actions.
Organization(s): Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO)