Long-Term Effects of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is the exposure of drugs to a baby while the fetus is growing in the womb. The drugs taken by a pregnant mother can cause withdrawal symptoms to occur within the baby during pregnancy and after birth. The baby is also at risk of sustaining severe injuries and death during pregnancy and immediately after birth, due to its reaction to the drugs.
Additionally, there are long-term effects of babies born addicted to opiates and other drugs — like having NAS — as the child who is exposed to the drugs can experience physical and mental challenges later on in their life. That’s why a mother taking drugs, including opioids or prescription medications, is strongly discouraged from continuing to take them. Staying healthy during pregnancy and avoiding harmful substances can help a child develop healthily in the womb and avoid developmental risks and physical challenges in the first few days and weeks after birth, and continue that healthy trend years into the child’s life.
- Body shakes
- Overactive reflexes
- Tight muscle tone
- Fussiness or excessive crying
- Poor feeding or a slow weight gain
- Breathing problems
- Fever, sweating or blotchy skin
- Trouble sleeping and lots of yawning
- Diarrhea or throwing up
- Stuffy nose or sneezing
- A NAS scoring system, which gives points for each symptoms depending on how severe it is for the child.
- A Meconium test, which is done with the baby’s first bowel movement.
- Urine testing
- Taking medicines to mitigate or block withdrawal symptoms, which will dissipate over time and require a smaller dosage of medicine as a way of tapering the child off the substance.
- Receiving fluids through a needle into a vein to prevent dehydration, which can occur since babies who have NAS often have diarrhea or vomit more often than normal and can lack enough internal liquids.
- Drinking higher-calorie baby formula to help with feeding and proper growth in the initial days following birth.