Pregnancy is one of the moments in which a woman has to take the most exquisite care to guarantee the health and well-being of the baby that grows inside her womb. So much so, that there are many drugs not recommended during pregnancy, foods to avoid or hygiene measures to take.
But what happens when drugs or opiates were already consumed before pregnancy? What happens if the woman is addicted to them? From the United States we receive an alarming news that speaks of the increase in cases of babies born with withdrawal syndrome. Caitlyn's story is just one example.
Caitlyn was in a very serious car accident almost a decade ago. To cope with the pain, she was prescribed opioids and since then she has been addicted to this type of painkiller. When she decided to ask for help to overcome her addiction, she realized it was too late, she was pregnant. "It's devastating, I have a baby inside me that doesn't deserve to be addicted to drugs," says Caitlyn, currently six months pregnant.
At first she tried to detox herself, from home, however, this is a risky attempt, as according to medical experts it can put both her life and that of the baby at risk.
In recent years the increase in drug and opiate abuse in pregnant women has grownTherefore, from 2005 to 2015 only in the State of Florida the number of babies born addicted to opiates have increased from 338 to 2487.
Women addicted to medications, opiates, or other drugs are unlikely to seek help during their pregnancy. However, this has become a big problem, they do not receive medical attention and there is a serious risk of the baby being born with neonatal abstinence syndrome.
In any case, it is not easy for women who alert their doctor, since in some countries drug treatment programs do not accept pregnant women or do not have protocols to follow.
When is the neonatal withdrawal syndrome? It occurs when the pregnant woman takes drugs during her pregnancy: alcohol, barbiturates, antidepressants, amphetamines, heroin, codeine, methadone, oxycodone or buprenorphine. These and similar substances reach the baby who becomes addicted.
When the baby is born, he does not receive the drug, so he may present withdrawal signs depending on the type of drug the mother took, the amount of it or the time during which the drug was used and which may be:
- Seizures and tremors
- Heavy breathing
- Hyperactive reflexes
- Bad nutrition
- Excessive crying
As for Caitlyn, she is receiving medical help to detox: 'I try to stay positive, because I know it is the best thing I can do for my baby and me.
And, once the baby is born, what to do? Everything will depend on the baby's date of birth (premature or full-term), the type of substance the mother was taking and the child's health at the time of arriving in this world.
Doctors will take special care in these types of cases. They will observe if the child rejects the breast or the bottle, if he is very restless, how is his growth, if he does not gain weight or if he suffers from dermatitis ...
In the event that you cannot tolerate any type of food, some type of liquid will be administered intravenously. In the most severe cases and, to try reduce this withdrawal syndrome, you can give the baby a small amount of a substance similar to that taken by the mother to gradually reduce it. In these cases, breastfeeding can come in handy.
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