What You Need to Know About Taking Demerol While Pregnant

Is it okay to take Demerol while pregnant?

Demerol is a prescription medication used to relieve pain. It is classified as an opioid narcotic. If you are currently using Demerol to relieve pain and become pregnant or are thinking about becoming pregnant, schedule a meeting with your doctor to discuss your options. Because Demerol is an opioid, it may be unsafe for some women to use while pregnant.

When a woman becomes pregnant, all the substances she ingests can potentially affect her fetus. This includes prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs and illegal substances. For this reason, it is recommended women become as drug-free as possible before conceiving. However, your doctor is the only one who will be able to determine if using medication is safe while pregnant. In some cases, the benefits of some medications outweigh the risk to the fetus. Schedule an appointment with your doctor if you are interested in learning more about whether Demerol is safe to use while pregnant.

In addition, if you are currently taking a prescription medication and become pregnant, do not adjust your treatment schedule just yet. Abruptly stopping some medications, Demerol included, can greatly impact the mother’s and therefore the baby’s health. Some doctors will allow patients to taper off their medications if they do become pregnant.

One major risk of using Demerol while pregnant is a newborn developing neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NAS). This syndrome is characterized by a group of problems that occur in newborns who were exposed to addictive opiate narcotics while in the mother’s womb.

As the opiates are ingested by the mother, they are passed through the placenta — the baby’s main source of oxygen and food while in the womb. The baby then becomes dependent on the opiate, just as the mother may be. Symptoms of NAS differ among babies, depending on what kind of drug the mother used while pregnant. Some common NAS symptoms of full-term babies include tremors, excessive crying, sleep problems, high-pitched crying, tight muscle tone, hyperactive reflexes, seizures, yawning, stuffy nose, sneezing, poor feeding, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, sweating and fever.

Because of the risks, it is recommended that women not use Demerol while pregnant. Of course, you should always consult with your doctor before making any decision to stop a medication. In some instances, the fetus may be negatively affected if pregnant women abruptly stop their Demerol treatment while pregnant.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.