There are several diseases that can appear with the birth of the baby, some that are easily curable, others that need a little more intense treatment and there are also those in which there is nothing to be done to be cured and the best thing is to learn to live with this condition.
But regardless of the severity and type of the disease, none seems to resemble what we call neonatal withdrawal syndrome . This condition may seem surreal to some people, but it is the reality for many in the world.
Do you want to better understand how this condition manifests itself and how it affects the life of the baby and the parents? So first we need to better understand what this disease is.
What is Neonatal Withdrawal Syndrome?
It is a disease that occurs when the baby is born with withdrawal symptoms due to the use of certain substances by the mother during pregnancy. Some of the main drugs that cause neonatal withdrawal syndrome are methadone, opiates and heroin.
The alcohol can also cause the disease, since it can pass through the placenta and cause the baby end up ingesting these substances too.
There is a discussion about whether or not marijuana causes the disease. While it cannot be said that it is, it is important to remember that the use of marijuana causes several other harms to the baby too, that is, it does not matter whether or not this substance will cause neonatal abstinence syndrome, the recommendation is that woman do not use it during pregnancy, during breastfeeding or near the baby in any way.
It is important to remember that the ingestions of these drugs are not always due to the fact that it is an addiction or bad habits of the mother, as this problem can also occur due to treatment with drugs that the woman had to take.
However, in these cases it is important to be careful and always remind the doctor of the pregnancy so that this does not occur. Anyway, these are more rare. It is estimated that between 55% and 94% of babies born to mothers who used this type of substance during pregnancy have neonatal withdrawal syndrome worldwide. The average in Brazil is 76 cases per year . Tall, scary numbers.
Symptoms of Neonatal Withdrawal Syndrome
It is not easy to identify when a baby has neonatal withdrawal syndrome, especially when there is no contribution from the mother. We can cite the main symptoms as:
- Ceaseless cries;
- Spots on the skin;
- Difficulty breastfeeding;
- Easy irritability;
The problem is that these symptoms can also mean other things, which can make the diagnosis and treatment of the disease more difficult. Symptoms may begin to occur only 2 or 3 days after the baby is born.
When we talk about neonatal withdrawal syndrome, we are talking about a social problem that can often be taboo. Getting mothers to admit that they used certain substances during pregnancy can be difficult for doctors, even for legal reasons.
Therefore, the conversation with mothers who are reluctant needs to be done calmly, without a judgmental approach and which seeks to help the baby to improve. It is important to warn them that the longer the baby goes without treatment, the worse the symptoms will be. Ultimately, there are tools in hospitals that enable doctors to discover neonatal withdrawal syndrome.
Prevention of Neonatal Withdrawal Syndrome
The prevention of neonatal abstinence syndrome occurs in the mothers’ awareness of the habits they should have during pregnancy. However, when we talk about mothers who are addicted, the issue becomes more serious, as the hospitalization of these women is often necessary so that the baby does not run greater risks such as abortion or malformation of the organs, for example. In poorer countries this problem becomes much greater, as there are several other social issues involved.
Treatment of Neonatal Withdrawal Syndrome
We can divide the types of treatment for this condition into two: pharmacological and non-pharmacological types. Thus, we can point out more precisely what each of them offers so that the neonatal abstinence syndrome is improved.
Drug treatment is usually done with morphine or buprenorphine , the second substance that has been shown to be most effective in relieving symptoms. It can be used even in women so that the baby is not born with the disease and has had good effects in recent years.
The initial treatment in babies needs to be non-pharmacological, always done carefully and with great affection. Massages, the use of volunteers who always maintain touch contact with the baby and adequate nutrition can help the baby to overcome the disease. However, this only happens between 40% and 60% of cases and, when there is no success, pharmacological treatment is necessary.
Although this is a condition that is far from the reality of many mothers, it is important to know that neonatal abstinence syndrome exists and that it is very dangerous. Using prohibited substances during pregnancy can cause very serious harm to the baby or even miscarriage.
It is clear that when the disease manifests itself, the mother is not always necessarily connected with the use of any drugs , but it is necessary that there is extra attention with the use of any type of substance during pregnancy.
Remember: the life you are generating is extremely fragile and any unnatural substance can cost that life, either due to death or the problems that appear later. So be very careful with your medications during pregnancy and, whenever in doubt, consult a doctor you trust.
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My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.