Can a mother breastfeed while on methadone?

Can a mother breastfeed while on methadone?

Experts believe that methadone-dependent women who are under the supervision of a physician and are drug-free can successfully breastfeed. According to a review of existing research published in July 2016, breastfeeding by methadone-treated moms and rooming-in can prevent NAS. However, more studies are needed to determine if, or for how long, mothers should wean their babies off of methadone.

Breastfeeding is recommended for all pregnant women, regardless of drug use. Breast milk contains antibodies that help protect infants against tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough (pertussis), measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox. It also contains nutrients that aid in growth and development and substances that reduce the risk of asthma and diabetes later in life. In addition, breastfeeding has many other benefits for both infant and mother. Mothers who choose to breastfeed may receive assistance from friends or family with finding a work environment that allows them to do so, as well as access to learning communities where they can get support with establishing good feeding practices.

Women who use heroin or other opiates during pregnancy must abstain from using these drugs during breastfeeding as well. If your doctor recommends that you stop using methadone, begin taking it right away, even before you deliver your baby. You will need to remain off the drug for at least six weeks after delivery to avoid any adverse effects on your newborn.

Can a woman take methadone maintenance during pregnancy?

Unless there is any contraindication, women who took methadone maintenance throughout pregnancy and are stable should be encouraged to nurse; nursing moms will require continued assistance during this period. However, because of possible adverse effects on the fetus, pregnant women should never take more than 2 mg of methadone at a time.

Methadone maintenance therapy is used to treat opioid addiction. The drug can also be used to manage pain or prevent withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting heroin or other opioids. Women who are addicted to drugs including heroin and who are trying to get pregnant should not use methadone because it could harm their baby. Not only does methadone appear in the milk, but it could also be absorbed by the stomach acid-fueled fetus. Exposure to methadone in utero is known to cause serious problems such as tremors, excessive crying, and slow physical development. Additionally, infants born to mothers who use methadone during pregnancy may experience tremors, irritability, sleep disorders, weight loss, blue coloration of the skin, and feeding difficulties. Mothers who use methadone should not breastfeed their babies because of the risk that the baby will also be exposed to the drug.

Women who are interested in becoming pregnant while using methadone should discuss their options with their doctor.

What happens to your baby when you take methadone?

Breastfed infants should be regularly examined for evidence of increased tiredness and respiratory difficulties; nursing may reduce, but not eliminate, neonatal withdrawal symptoms in infants who have been exposed in utero. Breastfed babies of methadone-using mothers should be weaned gradually to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Oral mucosal lesions may appear around the mouth and gingivitis may develop if maternal use continues during breastfeeding.

Methadone is absorbed directly into the blood stream from the gastrointestinal tract and lungs. It is distributed throughout the body and taken up by cells that contain opioid receptors. The drug binds to these receptors without entering the brain cell membranes and thus does not bind directly to neurons. This action prevents withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped or when doses are reduced.

When switching to methadone from another opioid, the dose may need to be slowly decreased over a few days to avoid sudden changes in heart rate, mood, or behavior. If the patient takes more than the prescribed amount of methadone, pain killers called opioids are needed to prevent any unpleasant effects caused by having too much of the drug in your system.

Opioids affect everyone differently, with some people needing smaller doses to get the same effect as others taking larger doses with no adverse effects. Factors such as age, weight, medical condition, or taking other medications can all play a role in how someone responds to the drug.

About Article Author

Judith Knight

Judith Knight has been a nurse for over 15 years. She has experience in both inpatient and outpatient settings. She loves her job because she gets to help people feel better! One of her favorite parts of her job is working with patients one-on-one to help them understand their health concerns and how they can best take care of themselves.

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