Home > All Posts, All things MAT, Family and Friends, NIMBYism > Methadone-using women should breastfeed babies

Methadone-using women should breastfeed babies



via Drug-using women should breastfeed babies.

New mothers receiving methadone to treat opiate addictions should breastfeed their babies to lessen the newborns’ withdrawal symptoms, a report has shown.

Research published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology showed children born to 205 out of 450 women receiving methadone required pharmacological treatment for neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), or baby withdrawals.

Study authors found that when women breastfed their babies for more than 72 hours there was a significantly reduced odds of the infants receiving treatment for NAS.

Apart from the benefits of breast milk and the way breastfeeding soothes agitated babies, researchers note that small traces of the drugs taken by the mother may find their way into the breast milk, thus lessening the baby’s withdrawal symptoms.

Based on their findings, researchers recommend that drug-misusing mothers should be encouraged to breastfeed their babies.

Dr Helen Mactier, a consultant neonatologist who headed the study, said: “Drug misuse in pregnancy is an emotive issue – prescription of substitute methadone stabilizes lifestyle and reduces the incidence of preterm birth but it does not prevent ongoing drug misuse and is commonly associated with neonatal abstinence syndrome.

“Infants born to drug misusing mothers tend to be born a bit early, and to be small, with correspondingly low intrauterine head growth.

“Our research has shown that breastfeeding seems to protect against the risk of developing neonatal abstinence syndrome, with the likelihood of receiving treatment halved in those infants who breastfed for more than three days.

“Our advice is for pregnant drug misusing women to be maintained on the lowest dose of methadone compatible with stability and for them to be encouraged and supported to breastfeed.”

The research also shows that women taking methadone are more likely to have children prone to NAS.

“This will help inform future policy on the treatment of pregnant women blighted by substance misuse,” commented Professor Philip Steer, BJOG editor-in-chief.


Advertisements
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: