Pregnancy, Oxycodone and Breastfeeding

Oxycodone is a fast-acting opiate drug prescribed to patients suffering from moderate to severe pain. Commonly known as brand-name medications OxyContin, Percocet and Roxicodone, oxycodone directly affects the central nervous system and alters how the brain responds to pain. In large doses and when abused, this opiate drug induces a euphoric high with similar effects to heroin and morphine.

Using oxycodone and other opiate drugs can be harmful to a baby’s growth, specifically when taken during the first few months of life. As are expectant mothers, babies are susceptible to adverse side effects and dependence if they are exposed to dangerous medication. Mothers must take the proper precautions if they choose to take medication while pregnant to ensure the safety and health of their babies.

Pregnancy, Oxycodone and Breastfeeding
It is important for women to consult with a physician about alternatives and all associated health risks prior to taking prescriptions during pregnancy. Some medication, and specifically oxycodone, can pose serious health risks to a baby. Though it has become more common for women to take prescription medication early during pregnancy, taking oxycodone while pregnant doubles the likelihood of babies being born with heart defects and other birth anomalies.

Anything a woman consumes travels to the baby through the placenta, putting the fetus at risk of experiencing a number of side effects from medication and other substances. Prior to beginning a medication regimen, women should check the safety of the drug to a fetus. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration assigns ratings to drugs on the level of safety they provide to women and their developing infants. Ratings span from Category A drugs — the safest drugs to consume during pregnancy, exhibiting no adverse side effects or anomalies — to Category X drugs — the most unsafe drugs that should never be taken during pregnancy.

Oxycodone falls into Category B, indicating little to no risk of health concerns or birth anomalies specific to humans. Although, some combination drugs containing oxycodone fall into Category C, indicating there is not enough research to determine possible risk or safety. They may or may not be safe, and the benefits may not outweigh the risks.

As with any medication, oxycodone does have the potential to pose risks to infants. However it greatly depends on how much of the drug has been taken and when it was consumed. Taking oxycodone and similar opioid painkillers like Percocet during the first trimester of pregnancy can be dangerous to a developing fetus. Within the first few weeks of pregnancy, the baby is still developing major organs and body parts. Any interference with this growth can result in birth anomalies, including neural tube defects — birth defects of the brain, spine or spinal cord — and heart defects like hypoplastic left heart syndrome — a condition in which the left side of the heart doesn’t develop properly.

Other rare, harmful side effects associated with oxycodone and pregnancy include:

  • Spina bifida, a condition in which the spinal canal and backbone don’t close before birth
  • Mental retardation
  • Gastroschisis, a birth defect causing a baby to be born with the intestines outside of the body
  • Congenital glaucoma

Excessive oxycodone use can also cause an infant to become dependent on the drug, specifically if abused during the third trimester. Infant dependency can result in neonatal withdrawal syndrome, a group of withdrawal symptoms from frequent exposure and addiction to opiate drugs during infancy. Babies suffering with neonatal withdrawal are at an increased risk of having respiratory issues and other withdrawal symptoms including:

  • Sleeping issues
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Feeding issues
  • Irritability
Oxycodone and similar opiate drugs can be excreted through breast milk. Though in low doses, opiate-exposed breast milk can cause potential harm to a baby. Consult with a licensed physician if you are still using oxycodone while breastfeeding.

If infants appear to be excessively lethargic, show signs of sedation or have difficulty breathing while being breast fed, seek immediate medical attention. These symptoms indicate significant harm to the baby.

During pregnancy, it is important for women to be at their best mental and physical health. A healthy mother greatly increases the health and safety of an infant. Though some women are prescribed medication prior to pregnancy, it is not uncommon for women and expectant mothers to become addicted.

If you are struggling with oxycodone addiction and worry for your baby’s safety, let The Recovery Village help you. With our support, you will gain the tools to lead a healthier life and ensure the safety of your baby. Let us show you how. Consult with The Recovery Village today to discuss a treatment plan best suited for you and your baby’s needs.

Baby Med. (n.d.). Oxycodone During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. Retrieved from http://www.babymed.com/medications/oxycodone-during-pregnancy-and-breastfeeding

Best Use of Medicines in Pregnancy. (2016, May). Oxycodone. Retrieved from http://www.medicinesinpregnancy.org/Templates/Pages/BumpsPIL.aspx?id=104004&epslanguage=en&print=y

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014, October 22). Key Findings: Maternal Treatment with Opioid Analgesics and Risk for Birth Defects. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/features/birthdefects-opioid-analgesics-keyfindings.html

Health Risks of Drugs During Pregnancy. (2014, July). Retrieved from http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2014/07/drugs-you-take-while-pregnant-may-not-be-as-safe-as-you-think/index.htm

Shute, N. (2011, March 2). Prescription Painkiller Use Linked To Serious Birth Defects : Shots. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2011/03/02/134201921/prescription-painkiller-use-linked-to-serious-birth-defects

Pregnancy, Oxycodone and Breastfeeding
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Pregnancy, Oxycodone and Breastfeeding was last modified: July 7th, 2017 by The Recovery Village