eCite Digital Repository

Chronic pain, pain severity and analgesia use in Australian women of reproductive age


Miller, AM and Sanderson, K and Bruno, RB and Breslin, M and Neil, AL, Chronic pain, pain severity and analgesia use in Australian women of reproductive age, Women and Birth pp. 1-7. ISSN 1871-5192 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of Australian College of Midwives

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.wombi.2018.06.013


Background: The increasing prevalence and adverse outcomes associated with opioid analgesia use in women of reproductive age have become a significant public health issue internationally, with use during pregnancy potentially affecting maternal and infant health outcomes.

Objective: This study aims to provide national estimates of chronic pain, pain severity and analgesia use in Australian women of reproductive age by pregnancy status.

Method: Data were obtained from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 201112 National Health Survey (n = 20,426). Weighting was applied to sample data to obtain population estimates. For this study data were analysed for pregnant (n = 166, N = 192,617) and non-pregnant women (n = 4710, N = 5,256,154) of reproductive age (1549 years).

Results: Chronic or reoccurring pain was reported in 5.1% of pregnant women and 9.7% of non-pregnant women, and 0.7% and 2.6% of pregnant and non-pregnant women reported recent opioid analgesia use respectively. Moderate-to-very severe pain was more common in pregnant than non-pregnant women taking opioid analgesics, and no pain and very mild-to-mild pain in non-pregnant women.

Conclusion: Approximately 1 in 20 pregnant Australian women have chronic or reoccurring pain. Opioid analgesia was used by around 1% of Australian pregnant women during a two-week period, with use associated with moderate-to-very severe pain. Given that the safety of many analgesic medications in pregnancy remains unknown, pregnant women and health professionals require accurate, up-to-date information on the risks and benefits of analgesic use during pregnancy. Further evidence on the decision-making processes of pregnant women with pain should assist health professionals maximise outcomes for mothers and infants.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:reproductive age, pregnant, chronic pain, pain severity, opioid analgesia
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Epidemiology
Research Field:Epidemiology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Women's and maternal health
UTAS Author:Miller, AM (Dr Alison Miller)
UTAS Author:Sanderson, K (Associate Professor Kristy Sanderson)
UTAS Author:Bruno, RB (Associate Professor Raimondo Bruno)
UTAS Author:Breslin, M (Dr Monique Breslin)
UTAS Author:Neil, AL (Associate Professor Amanda Neil)
ID Code:127185
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:5
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2018-07-16
Last Modified:2022-07-05

Repository Staff Only: item control page