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Methadone For Babies?

on Thursday, 21 June 2012. Posted in Breaking News, Methadone

methadone for babies

A controversial practice in England involves methadone being given to babies born to mothers who were using drugs during pregnancy.

Typically methadone is used to treat heroin addicts trying to kick their habit. The methadone is used as a taper to get a person through the uncomfortable withdrawal and detox period.

According to the Nottingham Post, babies born to addict mothers experience something called “neonatal withdrawal.” This happens when a baby is exposed to drugs while in the womb. Once born, the baby can begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms similar to that of a heroin addict.

This ‘withdrawal’ is not caused only by a mother using heroin though. The condition can be caused by a mother’s use of medications, alcohol, or other illegal drugs.

The drugs make their way to the baby through the mother’s placenta. A baby born under these circumstances could experience withdrawal symptoms for weeks to months, and without treatment, it could be life threatening.

If a baby is born to a mother who is known to have been using drugs, the baby is immediately monitored to check for symptoms. Some of the symptoms doctors keep an eye out for are irritability, diarrhea, sweating, convulsions, tremors, and fever.

Often times the baby is able to make it through some of these symptoms on their own, without the use of additional medications. However, some babies, especially ones whose mothers were using heroin during pregnancy, are administered a very small amount of methadone to help them get through the withdrawal safely.

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