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A 30-year-old female asked:

How do narcotics affect unborn child?

5 doctor answers11 doctors weighed in
Dr. Thomas Heston
Family Medicine 29 years experience
Same as mom: Pretty much same way as they affect the mom, including potential for addiction after birth.
Dr. James Henning
Anesthesiology 50 years experience
Caution: Usage of narcotics during pregnancy, unless under direct medical supervision and then only for highly specific indications, is not recommended. Narcotics affect unborn children and adults in the same way, although more profoundly, and with much more narrow margins of safety.
Dr. Chevies Newman
Obstetrics and Gynecology 22 years experience
Depends: If you have to use low dose medication, or periodic medication no big deal. Recreational narcotics in pregnancy can have issues of w/d. If getting replacement, Suboxone or methadone, babies will have to withdraw but in a good environment seem to demonstrate no developmental issues. Need to know amount, what kind, etc to say how it will affect your pregnancy. Kind of a broad question. Gd luck.
Dr. Richard Pollard
Anesthesiology 30 years experience
See below: Narcotics do cross the placenta and so have an effect on the child. This can lead to somnolence and decreased respirations at birth (for recent ingestion) to a child that had a narcotic addiction at birth.
Dr. David Rosenfeld
Pain Management 27 years experience
See below: Narcotics will cause respiratory depression and sedation.
Dr. Brian Struyk
Anesthesiology 21 years experience
It can also lead to opioid dependence in the newborn which will have to be managed in the neonatal intensive care unit to avoid withdrawal.
Jul 19, 2013

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Last updated Mar 14, 2019

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