I'm pregnant and addicted to opioids. What should I do?

I'm pregnant and addicted to opioids. What should I do?

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Being addicted to opioids during pregnancy could cause serious problems for you and your baby, including miscarriage or stillbirth.

But it's not safe to stop taking opioids suddenly or "cold turkey." The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that you get into a treatment program to help you transition to an "opioid agonist" medication that will prevent opioid withdrawal symptoms that can harm you and your baby. (Also, complete withdrawal from opioids – even medication-assisted withdrawal – is not recommended because it tends to result in relapse.)

Methadone and buprenorphine are the most frequently used opioid agonist medications. If you're taking these drugs, it's important to let your prenatal care provider know about your treatment so you can be monitored closely for pregnancy complications and side effects.

ACOG's position is that opioid addiction is a treatable disease that can be managed with medications, behavioral therapy, and support services. But be aware that healthcare providers in some states are required to report you to child welfare authorities if you admit to misusing drugs, or if they even suspect you are.

Note that it's routine to be tested for drugs when you're admitted for delivery. Healthcare providers need to know whether you have substances in your body that could affect the labor process or require special care for your baby after birth. For more information, see our article on opioid testing during pregnancy.

Whether you're still using opioids or in treatment with methadone or buprenorphine, your baby may be screened for drugs after birth and be kept in the hospital for several days of observation to be assessed for withdrawal symptoms. If necessary, your baby will be given medication to treat those symptoms. You will continue to need support and treatment after your baby is born.

To find out where to get help, see our article on resources for people who think they're addicted to opioids.

Learn more

Watch the video: Webinar. Treating Addiction During Pregnancy (November 2022).

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