Stanford University researchers say their study results show that opioid-based pain management often is unnecessary after childbirth, depending on how the baby is delivered. The investigation tracked pain, opioid use, and pace of recovery for 6 weeks post-partum in 213 healthy first-time mothers. Nearly a third of those who delivered vaginally required opioids for a brief time while hospitalized; however, most discontinued use after just 1 day and fewer than 10% still needed them after being discharged. Their pain was resolved in a median 14 days. About 90% of women who underwent cesarean section, by comparison, required opioids. It took 9 days for them to stop taking the drugs, and a median 21 days for the pain to resolve. Patients who had a vaginal delivery needed 47 days to resume their normal level of daily functioning, vs. 95 days for those who had surgical deliveries. "Based on our observations, routine opioid prescription for new moms after vaginal delivery is not recommended, and prescription of opioids at discharge from the hospital for women undergoing cesarean delivery should be limited," according to the investigators, who report in Anesthesiology.