Can you take methadone while pregnant?
Pregnancy is an exciting time for most women. It comes with many questions ranging from how often to see a doctor, what’s safe to eat and drink among others. For women who are on methadone treatment because of opioid addiction, one common question that arises is whether it’s safe to continue taking methadone while pregnant.
What Is Methadone?
Methadone is a medication used in treating opioid addiction like heroin addiction and pain relief. This medication operates by lessening withdrawal symptoms and reducing cravings for opioids such as morphine, codeine or hydrocodone (wait! Did I just use three different ‘codes’?).
How Does Methadone Affect Pregnancy?
When methadone is used during pregnancy it can cross the placenta (the organ that connects the baby with its mother) (no no no not Planet Placenta!), which means the fetus will be exposed to this drug (scary right?). Several studies have shown exposure could lead to some risks including:
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)
If you take methadone during pregnancy in high doses or frequently, you are likely putting your child at risk of developing NAS also known as neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome when he/she is born (lol I can’t get over the fact there’s something called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome!).
NAS means your child will experience withdrawal symptoms similar to yours after delivery which could last up several weeks doing so without any sympathizing company other than small feet kicking indiscriminately (Aww)
Some studies have founds mothers using opioids had varying degrees of increased risk s of preterm birth compared wth those who didn’t do drugs . However more research must be conducted before jumping into conclusions
Low birth Weight
Low Birth Weight is common where mothers are opiod dependent, Methdone included.. One of the reasons being appetite for the mother diminishes.
A few studies suggest taking methadone may be linked to ventricular septal defect in babies. This was also related to other substance abuse habits by the woman. However , further research needs to be done before any conclusions can be made
So When Is It Safe?
Overall, when used safely- according to a doctor’s prescription- methadone use during pregnancy does not pose risks or harm either to you as a mum-to-be or your baby (Thankfully God did balance between heaven and hell). Many experts believe that having a choice of continuing an addiction versus using medications such as methadone- that do less harm reduces risk .
Regardless follow these tips for safer outcomes:
1) Always communicate with your Doctor/ Prescriber / OB/GYN so they can prescribe correctly
2) Attend prenatal clinics regularly
3) Do not Change/discontinue medication without an experts advice
Can I Quit Methadone Cold Turkey?
It’s critical to understand quitting cold turkey poses serious risks not only pregnancy but for abused individuals trying in general aiming towards recovery . Withdraw symptoms could last up several weeks producing anxiety sleep disturbances tremors among others .
However if its prematurely discontinued (especially with high dosages taken chemically )it will cause withdrawal symptoms which puts both mother and child at risk ultimately endangering fetal growth and development .
Stopping abruptly should neverbe optimal unless followed under medical supervision carefully considered.
How Much Should I Take?
Doses should always be administered through Prescription from trained medical personnel The amount needed depends on different factors including how long one has been using opioids,, body composition genetics etc.; because of this all women have diffeerent rates depending on their metabolic rate /(kinda similar ships – differnt rigging?). You should not increase or lower your dose without seeking medical attention regardless
Methadone and Breastfeeding
Some infants exposed to methadone during pregnancy will also be exposed via breast milk. As a result, some physicians might recommend weaning before breastfeeding in those mothers who are receiving methadone (this means you should care for the baby by other means).
However some babies have constant exposure to this drug though nursing is completely safe (consult with your doctor) if they feel it’s necessary .. Mothers on medication should regularly review there childs progress with their Doctor you don’t call that Pinky promise
There’s a lot more research needed regarding Methadon use whilst pregnant; however it’s fair to say in general an informed choice can be made through communication and treatment options . Although its important to remember like most things they come with risks so always keep keep in touch with a health professional closeby