I’m Pregnant And On Suboxone – Will My Baby Be Born Addicted?
Opiate misuse or dependency can affect the developing fetus in the womb of a pregnant woman via the placenta.
Opiates are among the most addictive substances in the U.S. So many people are being prescribed painkillers, whether it be for acute pain or chronic pain, and end up having addiction by the time they are done with their prescription. The main drug found in most prescription painkillers, such as OxyContin and Percocet, is an opioid called Oxycodone.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 46 people die every day from overdoses involving prescription opioids. In 2017, prescription opioids continue to contribute to the epidemic in the U.S. – they were involved in more than 35% of all opioid overdose deaths.
Getting Off Opiates Safely While Pregnant
There are many ways an addicted person can detox from opiates such as therapy, group support groups, natural herbs, cold turkey, and many more, but the one medication that has proven to be the best at safely getting addicts off opiates with little to no withdrawal symptoms is Suboxone.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NIH), Suboxone is the combination of buprenorphine and naloxone that is used to treat opioid dependence (addiction to opioid drugs, including heroin and narcotic painkillers). Buprenorphine is in a class of medications called opioid partial agonist-antagonists and naloxone is in a class of medications called opioid antagonists. Buprenorphine alone and the combination of buprenorphine and naloxone work to prevent withdrawal symptoms when someone stops taking opioid drugs by producing similar effects to these drugs.
Is It Safe to Be On Suboxone While Pregnant?
During pregnancy, everything a woman puts into her body can affect the developing fetus in her womb by the placenta. This includes substances such as over-the-counter drugs, prescription medications, and illegal drugs.
Because the fetus is so sensitive during pregnancy, it is recommended that pregnant women stay as drug-free as possible. However, this may be impossible for some women who need prescription medications to function properly in their daily lives.
Women who are taking Suboxone when they get pregnant are generally advised not to stop taking it. Since this medication is a partial opioid agonist, stopping use could result in acute opioid withdrawal, which can present dangers to an unborn baby, such as fetal distress, preterm labor, miscarriage, and having neonatal withdrawal syndrome when born.
Neonatal Withdrawal Syndrome Because of Opiates
Neonatal withdrawal syndrome (NAS) is a syndrome that occurs when pregnant women use opioids and their babies become dependent upon them. Symptoms of NAS include tremors, excessive crying, issues falling asleep, high-pitched crying, tight muscle tone, hyperactive reflexes, seizures, stuffy nose, sneezing, poor feeding, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, sweating, and fever.
Because of the potential dangers of withdrawal, it is best to continue to take the medication in most cases. It might also be prescribed as a type of replacement drug for pregnant women struggling with an opioid use disorder when they become pregnant.
Are There Safer Alternatives During Pregnancy?
Methadone is an alternative to Suboxone for pregnant women. However, the same study determined that it was safer for pregnant women to take Suboxone compared to methadone. Methadone is also classified as a Category C drug during pregnancy.
It can be more difficult to obtain methadone since doctors cannot prescribe it in the same way as Suboxone. Women have to receive their daily dosage at a federally regulated facility. This can be inconvenient, especially as a woman gets further into her pregnancy.
The one exception would be for women who were chronic and heavy opioid users before pregnancy. Methadone is considered to be the better option in this instance for many women. Ultimately, you will need to talk to your doctor about what is best for your situation.
Let Evoke Waltham Center HELP You
At Evoke Waltham, our professionals are here to help every step of the way. Our programs use Medicated Assisted Treatment (MAT) programs to detox patients from opiates. And if need be, we administer MAT-style approaches to help patients maintain long-term recovery.
Sometimes, additional help is required, but these prescription drugs give every addict a chance for permanent recovery. Get help today and start healing from substance abuse, including opioid addiction and dependency.