Officials seeing more pregnant women addicted to drugs


You can boost your chances of having a problem-free pregnancy and delivery of a healthy baby, by taking care of your health. Addicted to drugs during your pregnancy will have a direct impact on your baby. Scott Rogers for The Town Talk has shared scary facts about the rise of addicted pregnant women.

About 11 percent of babies nationwide are born to mothers with substance abuse other than nicotine and alcohol.

The rise of prescription drug addiction has resulted in more babies born to women addicted to narcotics compared to just two decades ago, when infant addiction was associated more with street-level drugs.

A recent study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association found the number of newborns addicted to painkillers tripled in just 10 years. The study indicated 3.4 out of every 1,000 babies born suffered from withdrawals associated with narcotic pain medications. From 2000 to 2010 there was a fivefold increase in the number of pregnant women who used or abused opiates, according to the study.

Neonatal abstinence syndrome can occur in infants whose mothers use and abuse narcotics during pregnancy. Depending on the type of drug, how often and when the drug was used, symptoms can range from excessive crying, poor feeding, irritability, seizures, trembling and vomiting.

Addicted to drugs

During prenatal visits at Conway, screenings are done with mothers to assess for drug use and educate them as needed. They also are referred help to address addictions through the hospital’s social services department.

University Health Conway Nursery and NICU manager Diane Terry said all mothers who deliver at Conway are screened, and if they test positive, the infant is screened.

If an infant is positive for a toxicology screening or if the newborn shows signs and symptoms of withdrawals, the child is monitored, and every two hours nurses conduct an abstinence score.

While many babies test positive for drugs, they are not symptomatic and therefore do not require treatment, Allen said. Symptomatic babies require medication to treat the drug withdrawal depending on the drug used by the mother. It can take weeks of treatment for symptomatic babies to be treated for withdrawals.

Local health care officials agreed the best preventive measure is education to get mothers off drugs before any pregnancy.

Addicted to drugs

Read more here.

Being clean and healthy during pregnancy will ensure that your baby will be born healthy. If you are pregnant and addicted, please seek help by contacting Bridgeway Behavioral Health at or calling 866-758-1152.

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