Opioid & Pregnancy

Opioid Use During Pregnancy

Using opioids during pregnancy could bring a number of unwanted side effects such as:

This is when a baby dies in the womb before 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Preterm labor is labor that starts before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Preterm labor can lead to premature birth. This is when your baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Babies born early may have more health problems at birth and later in life than babies born full term.

Birth defects are health conditions that are present at birth. They usually change the shape or function of one or more parts of the body. They can cause problems in overall health, how the body develops, or in how the body works. Congenital heart defects, spina bifida, cleft lip/palate, clubfoot, and other birth defects may occur in the baby with opioid use during pregnancy. Congenital heart defects may include ventricular septal defects, atrial septal defects, and hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Spina bifida is the most common neural tube defect (NTD). Neural tube defects are birth defects of the brain and spinal cord.

Opioid use during pregnancy may affect the fetus’s brain development and central nervous system.

Fetal growth restriction means a baby doesn’t gain the weight it should before birth. Low birth weight is when a baby is born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces.

NAS is when a baby is exposed to a drug in the womb before birth and goes through withdrawal from the drug after birth.

Quitting Opioids While Pregnant

It isn’t safe to quit opioids suddenly during pregnancy. Opioids can cause severe problems for you and your unborn baby. We strongly recommend you check with your health professional for more information if you are taking opioids during pregnancy. Quitting opioids suddenly may increase your risk of:

Placental abruption

This is serious condition in which the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus before birth. It can separate partially or completely.

Placental abruption

This is heavy bleeding that can be life-threatening to mom and can lead to premature birth. The placenta grows in your uterus and supplies your baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord.

Preterm labor and premature birth

Growth problems 

Stillbirth

This is the death of a baby in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Opioid Treatment During Pregnancy

As the nation’s opioid crisis has deepened, the number of drug treatment centers for pregnant women has grown. But experts and advocates say there aren’t enough services for pregnant women to meet the demand, and many don’t offer the drugs doctors would normally use to treat addiction because they are concerned about the effects they might have on a fetus.

Nineteen states have either created or funded drug treatment programs for pregnant women. There are 24 states and the District of Columbia that consider drug use during pregnancy to be child abuse.

Less than a quarter of the nation’s substance abuse treatment centers offer services tailored to pregnant or postpartum women. Of those centers, a fraction offer recovery drugs to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. 

If You Took Opioids While Pregnant

Drug manufacturers lied to us about the addictive nature of opioids, and medical professionals prescribe them. Prescribing these drugs in high doses and for prolonged periods of time can lead to addiction and other devastating injuries. These include, among other adverse side effects, dependence, the craving to seek more drugs, use of other legal pain killers, use of other illegal drugs, and worst of all, overdose and death.

America’s opioid epidemic has affected, injured, or killed tens of thousands of Americans. It’s a national tragedy. All of these injuries could have been prevented. Drug manufacturers of opioid pain-killers have advertised their products as being less addictive than they actually are. Drug manufacturers have sometimes alleged that these drugs are safe to treat chronic pain. This marketing has lured scores of medication users and even doctors, into a false sense of security in using and prescribing such drugs.

If you or a loved one became addicted to an opioid, overdosed, hospitalized from an overdose, or used an opioid during pregnancy and the baby has a birth defect, contact us today. We have decades of experience going against pharmaceutical companies and drug manufacturers that produce unsafe products.

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