Medication Assisted Treatment and Pregnancy
If you suspect you are pregnant, you must inform the staff at Alliance Recovery Center immediately. You must provide documentation of your pre-natal care and authorize our medical staff to communicate with your obstetric physician. It is absolutely necessary that our medical staff know that you are pregnant or if you become pregnant and that your prenatal care team knows that you are being treated for opioid use disorder. Early pre-natal care, remaining stable on medication and avoiding alcohol and illicit drug use are important rules to follow to enhance your chances of delivering a healthy baby.
Pregnant women have safely taken methadone for many years. Methadone has not been shown to cause birth defects, however your child may experience some side effects such as neonatal withdrawal syndrome at the time of birth. This is not life threatening and is easily treated in the hospital with medications.
If you become pregnant, there is not a particular dose of methadone that you should stay under. Research has shown there is not a connection between a mother’s dose and withdrawal symptoms in the child. However, it is very common for pregnant women to need a dose increase, especially during the third trimester when the pregnant woman’s blood volume has almost doubled.
It should be noted that if you are feeling withdrawal symptoms during your pregnancy, your child is feeling withdrawal symptoms. It is important to keep your dose stable during pregnancy because severe withdrawal can lead to miscarriage. This is why withdrawing from methadone during pregnancy is highly discouraged.
Withdrawing from methadone during pregnancy is highly discouraged.
Breastfeeding is also safe while taking methadone. A small amount of methadone is contained in breast milk and will be consumed by the nursing child if you choose to breastfeed. However, the nutritional benefits and the bonding that occurs during breastfeeding are so important that physicians encourage breastfeeding despite the presence of methadone in breast milk.
Healthy babies have also been delivered while taking buprenorphine. Some research suggests that the instance of neonatal withdrawal syndrome is less when taking buprenorphine than when taking methadone.