Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences

Document Type: Original Article(s)


Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vali-Asr Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Background: Opium is one of the most commonly abused opiates in developing countries including Iran. Considering the importance of maternal health on the newborn, we aimed to assess the effect of opium abuse on fetal heart rate (FHR) characteristics in a sample of pregnant women in Zahedan, Southeast Iran.Methods: This cross-sectional study was done on 100 pregnant women referring to Ali-Ibn-Abi Talib Hospital in Zahedan, during 2011-2013. The participants were divided into two groups comprising of opium abusers and healthy individuals. The participants received 500cc intravenous fluid containing dextrose and then non-stress test results were recorded for 20 minutes.Results: We found no significant difference between the two groups with respect to their demographic characteristics. Fetal movements, variability, acceleration, and reactivity were significantly higher among addicted women (P<0.0001 for all). Periodic change was 9.8 times higher among opium abusers compared with the healthy women. Abnormal variability or oscillations of <15 beats/min, which indicates lack of beat-to-beat variability, was significantly higher in the fetuses of addicted mothers (P<0.0001).Conclusion: Considering significant abnormal patterns in FHR characteristics among the opium abuser group, mothers addicted to opium need specific prenatal care.