According to an estimate by the University of Michigan, there is a baby born in the United States addicted to opiates approximately every hour and 13,539 babies are born with Neo-Natal Abstinence Syndrome (or NAS) every year. Babies who are born with an opiate addiction can have severe withdrawal symptoms and must be closely monitored by health professionals. If you have been struggling with an addiction to opiates and suddenly learn that you are expecting, getting help is absolutely imperative for the health of your growing baby. Here are a few questions you may have about being opiate addicted who is also an expecting mother.
Will doctors expect you to stop taking opiates right away?
Your doctor will take measures to ensure that coming off of the opiates you are using is done in a controlled way. Stopping taking opiates right away can cause you to go into severe withdrawal, which is dangerous not just for you, but the health of your baby. There are rehabilitation programs specifically designed to cater to the needs of pregnant mothers addicted to opiates as well.
Is it possible to obtain prescription help for opiate addiction while pregnant?
Prescription medications, such as Methadone, used to block the withdrawal symptoms of opiate addiction are commonly used to help mothers who are addicted to an opiate substance. These medications ward off withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, anxiety, insomnia, and irritability. Even though these drugs can also be addictive and have some negative influence on the growing baby, in a controlled environment it is much safer for the baby than erratic use of opiate and opioid substances that could be abused through the pregnancy otherwise. However, this form of addiction treatment while you are pregnant should only be administered under the close supervision of your physician.
Can your baby be taken from you if it is born with an addiction to opiates?
As long as you are open about the addiction you are struggling with, what you are taking, and follow your OBGYN's instructions and care guidelines, you are showing that you are being an apt parent who is concerned about the welfare of your child. Therefore, you will be less likely to face repercussions once the baby is born. Even though all states have their own guidelines about the issue, taking steps through your pregnancy to be responsible will always be something Child Protective Services takes into account.
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