Neonatal abstinence syndrome
Alternate Names : NAS
Treatment depends on the infant’s overall health and whether the baby was born full-term or premature.
The health care team will watch the newborn carefully for signs of withdrawal, feeding problems, and weight gain. Babies who vomit or who are very dehydrated may need to get fluids through a vein (intravenous).
Some babies need medicine to treat withdrawal symptoms. Medicines may include:
- Benzodiazepines for alcohol withdrawal
- Methadone for heroin and other opiate withdrawal
The doctor may prescribe the infant a drug similar to the one the mother used during pregnancy and slowly decrease the dose over time. This helps wean the baby off the drug and relieve some withdrawal symptoms.
Infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome are often fussy and hard to calm. Tips to calm the infant down include:
- Gently rocking the child
- Reducing noise and lights
- Swaddling the baby in a blanket
Babies with this condition often have poor feeding. Such babies may need:
- A higher-calorie formula that provides greater nutrition
- Smaller portions given more often
Treatment helps relieve symptoms of withdrawal. How well the baby does depends in part on whether the mother (and father) continues to use drugs.
Exposure to drugs in the womb can lead to many health problems, including:
Neonatal abstinence syndrome can last from 1 week to 6 months.
Calling Your Health Care Provider
Contact your health care provider if you are pregnant and have taken any type of drugs. Also call if your baby shows symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome.