About every 15 minutes a baby is born who suffers from an opioid withdrawal.
If an expectant mother has a problem with drugs like opioid use disorder (OUD), drugs can be in her baby's system after birth. This can lead to painful withdrawal symptoms and other baby health problems.
When a woman is pregnant, the medication she takes is given to her baby via the umbilical cord. Once the baby is born, drug delivery is interrupted and the baby may experience some kind of withdrawal known as newborn abstinence syndrome. If the medications the mother takes are opioids, this is called neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS).
The OUD has increased dramatically in pregnant women in recent years. From 1999 to 2014, the number of women with OUD more than quadrupled when their baby was born. This resulted in a significant increase in babies with NOWS.
Women who are pregnant and have OUD should talk to their doctors about treatment. There are drugs that can help them return to a healthier life – and help their babies.
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