When you are pregnant it is always important to remember that what you put into your body may affect your baby. Whether you are eating nutritious foods or ingesting harmful chemicals, they are being passed through the placenta and reaching your baby. Suffering withdrawal symptoms however can also threaten the health and life of an unborn child. Approximately 1% of women of child bearing age use opioids. Therefore for a pregnant woman who is struggling with an opioid addiction, methadone is the recommended therapy.
For many years pregnant women have been treated with methadone.
Any pregnant women using opioids should be offered methadone as a treatment option. The advantages are numerous and include:
To this day, methadone has not been found to be connected to any serious birth defects. Once a baby is born and begins to grow it typically grows into the normal range for size. Babies also don’t typically fall behind in development as a result of methadone use by the mother.
A woman could be on a different dosage of methadone when she begins their pregnancy than she is towards the end of it. This is because of all the changes that a woman’s body will go through as she carries a baby. During the second trimester, women may begin to feel withdrawal symptoms even if they had been on a stable dose. This is normal and you should discuss this with your doctor.
If you become pregnant while you are tapering your dose it is likely that your doctor will stop tapering during your pregnancy so that you and your baby do not experience withdrawal symptoms.
A medical withdrawal from methadone for a pregnant woman is not recommended. Pregnant women should never try to detox themselves. This is a dangerous process that can be life-threatening for the baby.