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17 April
Painkiller addiction in pregnant mothers
By Rachael

Painkiller addiction in pregnant mothers

The problem of painkiller addiction during pregnancy has become a major public health concern affecting a large number of women in the United States. The increased use of painkillers during pregnancy is often associated with adverse outcomes for both the mother and the child. In fact, even sudden withdrawal from opioids puts the fetus and the mother at a great risk.

Painkiller addiction during motherhood can lead to a number of complications, such as maternal weight gain, increased rate of perinatal morbidity, low birth weight infants, preterm labor and delivery, abortion, etc. Painkillers not only pose serious health issues to the mother and the fetus, but can also make the baby vulnerable to substance abuse or addiction later. Moreover, exposure to painkillers increases the risk of developing neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) among unborn children.

Painkillers, also known as “magic pills” in terms of alleviating chronic pain, possess “highly addictive properties” that can overpower the senses of a person even on its first use as per the prescription. Besides the increased abuse of painkillers, the marked rise in prescription of painkillers during pregnancy to improve the outcome has further compounded the problem. They can alter the brain’s chemical transmitters and imitate the “feel good” chemicals, which lead to dependence and addiction.

Treatment of painkiller addiction

A baby born to a mother under the influence of painkillers is at an increased risk of witnessing severe aftereffects. Although detoxification is not recommended during pregnancy, there are several accepted treatments available for painkiller addiction during pregnancy. Treatment with methadone (MET) or buprenorphine (BUP), as a part of a comprehensive program of obstetric care and psychosocial interventions, can turn out to be effective.

Several researches suggest that exposure to the above drugs raise the problem of developing congenital abnormalities, cardiovascular issues, medical complications, neurobehavioral deficits, central nervous system (CNS) anomalies in babies. Many experts have also highlighted the risk of undescended testicles associated with cancer and infertility among the unborn child. Therefore, pregnant women are recommended to avoid taking drugs to curb any kind of problem in the unborn child.

Considering the potential complications for both the baby and the mother, it is essential to develop adequate treatment facilities and care plans. Instead of ignoring the problem, there is a need to focus on the treatment of painkiller addiction among women by ensuring trained mid-wives and medical practitioners.

Road to recovery

According to many media reports, approximately 10,000 babies are born with the problem of painkiller addiction annually in the United States. The rapidly growing graph of painkiller addiction is causing devastating effects on families. When a pregnant mother develops painkiller addiction, she also passes its effect to the fetus. This causes tremendous harm to the baby, even leading to death. Drugs, whether illegal or prescribed, are at high risk of causing an addiction and overdose. Comprehensive care for painkiller-addicted mothers can have a positive effect on her fetus.

If you know someone who is pregnant and is addicted to painkillers, it is time to seek professional support from the Arizona Prescription Abuse Helpline to know about some of the best prescription drug abuse treatment centers in Arizona. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-692-3563 or chat online for more information on the prescription drug abuse treatment clinic in Arizona.


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