Working in pediatrics, firsthand experiences of children born to addicted mothers keep haunting me. While some are stillbirths, many of the surviving infants have congenital disabilities that would arguably condemn them to a lifetime of suffering – all because their mothers were addicted to a given drug. As opioid use continues to ravage the country, especially pregnant women, Guan et al.’s (2018) research remains relevant to nursing because of its large cohort, appropriate methodology, and conclusive findings.
The study employs a correlational research design to investigate the relationship between the timing of MMT initiation and key perinatal adverse health outcomes. This strategy remains evident because the researchers measure the impact of methadone initiation on pregnant women before conception and along different pregnancy stages without controlling the variables. Typically, correlational studies seek to find out the existence, or lack thereof, of a relation between variables of interest, often conceptualized as positive, negative, or zero correlation. Guan et al. (2018) conform to this consensus by revealing a zero correlation since they fail to find a clear relationship between later initiation of MMT and adverse perinatal health outcomes among pregnant women in Ontario.
The study under review follows an elaborate and appropriate sample selection process, which helps the researchers provide crucial nursing practice insights. Being an archival review, the authors relied on existing data to identify a suitable cohort based on five mutually exclusive categories. A desirable subject must have stabilized before conception, undergone initiation before conceiving, or underwent MMT in the first, second, or third trimester. The criteria yielded 2139 qualified mother-baby dyads, but the study included only 1842 subjects after a random selection. Guan et al. (2018) discover that the timing of MMT has a neutral impact on short-term perinatal outcomes, but initiating around pregnancy nonetheless increases a woman’s chances of having her child discharged to social services, making this cohort a vulnerable population. These evidence-based findings are essential in informing healthcare intervention decisions to improve perinatal outcomes for women with opioid use disorder.
Nursing is a humanistic discipline and practice that relies heavily on authentic scientific evidence. This short synopsis closely examines a recent study by Guan et al. (2018) based on its design, sample selection, and participants. The sheer size of the study cohort and the authors’ compliance with approved research practices enhances its credibility.
Guan, Q., Sproule, B. A., Vigod, S. N., Cadarette, S. M., Greaves, S., Martins, D., & Gomes, T. (2018). Impact of timing of methadone initiation on perinatal outcomes following delivery among pregnant women on methadone maintenance therapy in Ontario. Addiction, 114(2), 268-277. Web.