Continued Methadone Use During Pregnancy

The dangers of NAS may be far lower for certain women than the hazards of untreated OUD during pregnancy.

12/26/20222 min read

There are hazards and benefits to using therapy during pregnancy. If OUD isn't treated during pregnancy, it might lead to:

  • Overdosage by accident

  • Death

  • Malnutrition

  • Physical abuse is more likely to occur.

  • Preterm labor is when a baby is born prematurely.

  • Infection risk associated with needle use

The dangers of NAS may be far lower for certain women than the hazards of untreated OUD during pregnancy.

Many doctors and women believe that the dangers of self-harm or harm to the baby during pregnancy exceed the chances of NAS if OUD is not treated.Methadone is an opioid medicine that helps patients overcome their opioid addiction without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. It's typically suggested for people who wish to recover from heroin addiction, but it's also been shown to help people recover from any opioid addiction. Pregnant women who use heroin while pregnant are more likely to have preterm deliveries or miscarriages. Methadone is approved for usage during pregnancy in a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program to aid such women.

However, if not carefully managed, MAT drugs such as methadone can have major health repercussions for babies. This is because all medications taken by a pregnant woman can pass through the placenta and reach the fetus in the womb, necessitating careful monitoring and management of the dose. Let's look at the consequences of taking methadone while pregnant in more detail.

Is Getting Pregnant While on Methadone Safe?

Taking methadone when pregnant increases the incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) (NAS). When a baby is delivered to a mother who is enrolled in a MAT program and tries to take methadone or Suboxone on her own, the baby may get addicted to the medicine since the mother is taking more than the safe, prescribed dosage. Although medication-assisted therapy in a medically supervised program might cause modest NAS symptoms in newborns, it is significantly less dangerous than being born with heroin withdrawal symptoms. Because NAS is treatable, it is unlikely to cause birth abnormalities or abnormal growth in the child. If a pregnant woman is addicted to opioids, it's best to get treatment as soon as possible to avoid delivery difficulties and disorders.

Is There a Risk of Taking Methadone During Pregnancy?

Methadone has certain negative consequences on the fetus. If a large dose is given, the newborn may develop addicted to the medication, resulting in withdrawal symptoms soon after birth. In contrast, if the mother takes less than the recommended dose, she may have withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms may be hazardous to her and the fetus, which is why she must participate in a medically supervised program to receive methadone or other treatment drugs.

Methadone use should be closely monitored in pregnant women, especially during the last three months of pregnancy. Because the mother's metabolic needs normally increase during this time and the fetus has entered its final stage of development, doses will need to be carefully adjusted for the baby's health and the mother's well-being.