Withdrawal Symptoms in Newborns and What Pregnant Women can do to Get Help Beforehand

If you are on drugs and get pregnant, you are faced with either having a newborn that is experiencing withdrawal or getting treatment while you are pregnant. Drug treatment while pregnant carries a very low risk of birth defects and withdrawal symptoms in newborns carries a very high risk.

Symptoms of Withdrawal in Newborns

Withdrawal Symptoms in Newborns

Excessive or constant crying is a common withdrawal symptom in newborns.

The symptoms of withdrawal in newborns can be extremely dangerous. Many of these symptoms are easily mistaken for something else and only recognized when it is too late. According to Stanford University newborn withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Tremors
  • Sleeping issues
  • Unexplained rash
  • Breathing issues
  • Hyperactivity
  • Stress
  • Inability to stop moving or sleep
  • Stiffness in arm or legs
  • Crying excessively or constantly
  • High-pitched crying
  • Yawning
  • Stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Failure to latch, poor feeding
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Seizures

These symptoms can vary wildly and usually start between 24 to 48 hours but can also start as much as 5 to 10 days later. Depending on the severity of your addiction and the overall health of the baby, these symptoms could be extremely dangerous.

Newborn withdrawal can be deadly and doctors recommend detoxing before you have your child. If you do not the withdrawal symptoms could be so severe that the baby dies. If you attempt to go through withdrawal on your own, you will most likely miscarry.

This is why most doctors recommend a medical detox. To find a treatment center that can help you, call 800-891-9360(Who Answers?).

Treatment Options for Pregnant Mothers

The most popular treatment option for pregnant mothers is through medication assisted treatment. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, the rationale behind using medication assisted therapy for a pregnant mother is to:

  • Wean the mother off the illicit drug
  • Prevent newborn withdrawal
  • To avoid the adverse effects of illicit drug use such as HIV and other disease
  • To avoid the risks of criminal activity

Do Pregnant Women Have Better Outcomes with Methadone?

All of these are benefits of seeking treatment during pregnancy rather than attempting to do it after the baby is born. When you seek treatment after birth, you are faced with treating both the baby and yourself for drug addiction and withdrawal.

Pregnant women can get help by seeking help at a treatment center. During treatment they have access to:

  • Counseling – including drug addiction, parenting, and family counseling
  • Medication – medications such as methadone or even their drug of choice may be available for withdrawal prevention and tapering purposes
  • A safe environment – an environment without the risks associated with both drug addiction and pregnancy
  • Parenting classes – to help after the birth
  • Prenatal care – vitamins and other supports
  • Life skills training – to improve the mother’s overall situation
  • Family counseling – to help come to terms with family and friends hurt by addiction.

By seeking a qualified treatment center, a pregnant woman can get all of the help that she needs before the baby arrives.

Finding Treatment when you are Pregnant

Coping with the withdrawal symptoms in newborns is extremely difficult. Sometimes the better option is to get help before the baby is born. To get the help that you need, all you have to do is call 800-891-9360(Who Answers?).


How our helpline works

For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the MethadoneClinic.com helpline is a private and convenient solution.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by American Addiction Centers (AAC).

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For more information on AAC’s commitment to ethical marketing and treatment practices, or to learn more about how to select a treatment provider, visit our About AAC page. If you wish to explore additional treatment options or connect with a specific rehab center, you can browse top-rated listings or visit SAMHSA.