It sounds impossible that a baby is born as an addict. Well, it is impossible since the newborn just comes to this world, knowing nothing about life, especially drugs. However, what is possible is that a baby is born with drugs in her system. This is what causes the baby seems like an “addict”.
What causes addiction?
Babies don’t normally have drugs substance with them. They inherit it. It has been long known that taking drugs and drinking alcohol during pregnancy can have an effect on the baby.
If you’re taking drugs, you’re not the only who feels the effect. The drugs their way to the placenta, the organ that connects you and your baby. The substances that are in the drugs are perceived as an intake by the baby, just like the food that you eat and water that you drink. Your baby absorbs the chemical not considering that it is dangerous for her.
Drugs can harm your baby in various ways depending on the stage of pregnancy. In a very early stage of pregnancy, direct effects on organ development are possible. There are more subtle effects in later stages of pregnancy such as impaired delivery of nutrients.
Drug-addicted babies symptoms
Once the baby is delivered, her connection to the drugs is also cut. However, because there are no more drugs that enter her system, she will experience withdrawal symptoms. In babies, this symptom is also known as NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome).
NAS symptoms can be different depending on the chemicals that a baby was exposed to. The time when the substance was consumed and whether the baby is premature or not also determine the symptoms. The withdrawal may start 24 to 48 hours or 10 days after the baby is born.
Below are symptoms that are commonly found on babies with NAS:
- Difficult to sleep
- Excessive crying
- High-pitched crying
- Tight muscle tone
- Unstable body temperature
If your baby is born showing the symptoms above, your doctor should be able to take care of it. He will help your baby through the withdrawal process and nurse her to health.
However, despite her condition that is born with drugs in her system, the consumption of medicine is sometimes necessary. If your baby is treated using pharmacologic therapy, your doctor may give your baby medications such as methadone.
Your baby’s vital becomes the main concern here as well as her, stability and progress. That’s why your baby is kept under continuous watchful surveillance at all times.
Depending on the seriousness of the addiction, the treatments can last from a week to six months. It depends on various factors, such as the drug and length of prolonged use. As your baby grows older, working with a medical professional and other early childhood intervention specialists may be necessary to see if the development of the condition.
Prevention is a must
Preventing neonatal abstinence syndrome has to start from the mother. If you’re pregnant and using drugs such as opioids, you should start thinking twice. Opioids are drugs that are commonly used to treat pain. The drugs can potentially cause addiction and they may danger your life as well. And opioids are one of many factors that can cause NAS.
It’s best if you don’t consume the drugs in the first place. But if you’re pregnant and consuming them at the same time, talk to your doctor to prescript safer medicine. Also, don’t stop taking opioids until you talk to your doctor. Quitting the drugs immediately can cause more harms to you and your baby.
Make sure that the doctor you’re consulting has experience treating NAS. Consider taking MAT (medication-assisted treatment). Babies with NAS are easier to treat if the mother has taken MAT previously during pregnancy.