Choices Matter : Better Choices for Pain Management

It was almost 15 years ago that I was discharged from the hospital after a devastating stillbirth and my doctor prescribed codeine for me.

I had never had codeine and vaguely remember hearing that it could be addictive but I was in too much emotional pain to think about it at the time. Luckily my husband was able to advocate for me.

He was concerned about the medication being offered and my pain level. He asked me if I could opt for something over-the-counter unless the pain was too extreme.

My doctor never did ask me about my pain. She just prescribed a drug and moved on.

I ended up never taking that codeine and was able to manage my pain with over-the-counter acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

As I read about the Choices Matter Campaign I’m so thankful that my husband was my advocate. Would I have become a statistic had I taken that medication?

Here’s some background information on the campaign.

First, Why Pain is Important

Pain is inevitable if you’re going through things such as surgery. For women, a normal pregnancy is still seen as a major surgery in the hospital and, yes, there is pain. Managing your pain after surgery is important so you can keep pain from becoming a chronic issue.  And so you can get back on your feet and active again which reduces the risk of complications such as blood clots.

The Choices Matter Campaign wants people, and especially women, to be informed of alternative choices in pain relief.

Next, Some Statistics about Current Pain Management Practices

The statistics are staggering.

  • There are 3.3 billion unused pills out there just waiting for someone to misuse them.
  • Enough opioids were prescribed in 2016 to provide every American with 36 pills.
  • 40% more women than men become dependent upon opioids after surgery.
  • Following surgery, an average of 85 pills are prescribed whether needed or not.

Are all these drugs needed?

INFOGRAPHIC : The Role of Opioids in Childbirth

Why You Don’t Want Opioids

Not only is becoming addicted to opioids after surgery a factor, but prescription opioids can be especially troubling for new moms because of…

  • side effects
  • breastfeeding
  • fear of dependence or addiction

Thankfully these days mothers-to-be are more aware of their environments, what they put in their bodies, and their road to recovery. We are seeking healthier alternatives for many things and managing pain should be one of those.

Every woman has a different pain threshold. Some can handle more than others. And the Choices Matter Campaign wants you to Plan Against Your Pain instead of taking that opioid path of least resistance.

How to Plan for Pain

The Choices Matter Campaign specifically wants to educate patients, caregivers, and physicians on pain management options that are non-opioids.

Start by Building a Plan

  • Talk to your doctor.
  • Get to know more about the surgery or medical procedure you’re about to go through. For women that could be C-section, fibroids, even hysterectomy.
  • What you should expect in terms of recovery? Will you be in the hospital for several days? 
  • How long should your recovery take? What things speed recovery?
  • What other non-opioid options for pain management are there? Are there other medications that are non-addicting that would work just as well? What about non-medication alternatives?
  • Make plans to care for yourself in the days following surgery. Give yourself grace. Ask for help. Get the rest you need.

You can find out more information, check out the toolkit, and sign the pledge at

I received this educational information and assets from Moms Meet to use and post my honest options. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

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