The opioid epidemic has severe consequences for pregnant women and their infants. Opioid use during pregnancy increases the risk of numerous poor outcomes at birth, including Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), preterm birth, and low birth weight. Opioid use during pregnancy can also lead to child protective services reports and foster care entry. This brief summarizes the findings from a recent study that used linked administrative data from Wisconsin from 2010-2019 and child protective service reports to evaluate the effects of exposure to prescription and illicit opioids during pregnancy on infant health and wellbeing at birth.

Document Type

Research Brief


Maternal Child Health, Opioid Crisis


Maternal and Child Health | Substance Abuse and Addiction






We gratefully acknowledge NIH support to complete this work (NIH R01 #HD102125-01, MPIs Berger and Ehrenthal) and institutional support provided by the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Social Science Research Institute at the Pennsylvania State University. We thank HeeJin Kim for excellent research assistance and Alexandra Punch and Shannon Monnat for providing edits on a prior version of this brief.

The authors of this brief are solely responsible for the content therein. The authors thank the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families for the use of data for this analysis, but these agencies do not certify the accuracy of the analyses presented. This brief is part of a series of briefs summarizing findings from a special issue of the ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science on the social and community consequences of the U.S. opioid crisis.



Funding ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.