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Depending on the type of substance used by the mother during pregnancy, as well as the last time it was used, symptoms may vary.
Studies have found that a dramatic increase in the numbers of women addicted to drugs during pregnancy has resulted in an exorbitant increase in the number of infants born with a drug withdrawal condition known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

Infants born with these symptoms necessitate longer and costlier stays in the hospital. It is estimated that in 2012 alone, 21,732 babies were born with this condition – five times the number of 2000. This is an equivalent of one baby suffering from opiate withdrawal born every 25 minutes.

Neonatal abstinence syndrome is a preventable problem.  However, it necessitates that the mother discontinues her use of drugs during pregnancy, or as soon as she learns she is pregnant, under the medical guidance of a physician.  A family dealing with a female who is suffering with the symptoms of drug abuse may face a more serious problem should their loved one become pregnant while using.  Recognizing the serious impact drug use can have on the development of the child may impact the mother’s decision to cease her drug use, seek treatment and regain her foothold in a healthy, sober life.

There are diverse medical symptoms that are related to specific drugs of choice.  Withdrawals in infants can accompany a mother’s use of heroin or other opiates, including methadone.  Some withdrawal symptoms in a baby may last as long as four to six months.  Seizures may also occur in babies who are born to mothers addicted to methadone.  Should a mother continue using amphetamines throughout pregnancy; this may have a direct impact on the low birth weight of her child and/or premature birth.  Poor fetal growth, accompanied with developmental delay, learning disabilities and a lower IQ can occur in an infant born to a mother using cocaine.  Marijuana has also been linked to lower birth weights in infants.

Depending on the type of substance used by the mother during pregnancy, as well as the last time it was used, symptoms may vary.  Premature babies have been found to suffer less, compared to infants carried to full term.  Withdrawal symptoms can begin as early as 24 – 48 hours after birth, or as late as five to ten days. There are common medical issues that accompany neonatal abstinence syndrome.  However, each infant may react differently. Included, but not limited to, an infant may suffer from tremors, high-pitched crying, sleep problems, seizures, vomiting and/or diarrhea and fever or unstable temperature.

Seeking professional help for a female dealing with drug abuse issues is of emotional, psychological and physical import for the addict. However, seeking help for a pregnant woman who is addicted to drugs or alcohol has a direct impact on the health of the mother, and the physical well-being of her child.  

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