When taken as a recreational drug, however, methadone can have adverse side effects that are often accompanied by severe withdrawal symptoms. This narcotic should not be used if a patient suffers from asthma attacks or paralytic ileus. Self-medication is strictly forbidden because it can lead to overdose and even death. Combining methadone with other narcotics and alcohol is also not recommended.
Methadone use during pregnancy can cause malformation of the fetus, low birth weight and withdrawal symptoms.
Methadone and Pregnancy
A baby whose mother uses methadone during pregnancy will be born physically dependent on methadone. Everything that the mother ingests—drugs, alcohol, and nicotine alike—will be transferred to the baby through the placenta.
The effects that Methadone has on the baby are similar to the effects of other prescribed and abused drugs, such as Busulfan.
If a woman stays pregnant during her Methadone therapy, she shouldn’t stop using the drug without consulting her doctor first. Methadone, like any other addictive drug, can cause severe withdrawal symptoms that can lead to a miscarriage. Needless to say, if the mother experiences withdrawal symptoms, then the fetus experiences them too. This can cause low placental blood flow, hypoxia and brain damage.
So, the main question that almost every mother asks herself is, “What should I do to keep my baby healthy?”
First and foremost, the woman should never lower her dosage without consultation, since this could trigger painful withdrawal symptoms, which can be very dangerous. Instead, the mother-to-be is advised to seek professional help.
Methadone’s effects on the fetus will fade away with time, and the baby reaches its normal weight. Most infants born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) don’t even require treatment. In some cases, however, when the mother combined methadone with other drugs, withdrawal symptoms can be very dangerous.
When it comes to breastfeeding, mothers should consult a professional about the risks of breastfeeding during methadone therapy. Some of these risks include respiratory depression and methadone withdrawal symptoms. If the mother is abusing other narcotics alongside methadone, doctors strongly advise against breastfeeding.
Does a higher dosage of Methadone worsen NAS? Are the withdrawal symptoms in babies caused by methadone or some other drug? These are the questions that are yet to be answered. What we can say for certain is that abstinence from methadone during pregnancy is extremely dangerous and it can cause severe damage to the fetus. Babies born with neonatal abstinence symptoms in most cases don’t require treatment. The withdrawal symptoms in babies that are more severe are treatable.