Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) can occur when a baby is exposed to drugs before birth.  NAS tends to occur most often when a woman takes prescription or non prescription opioids, antidepressants or benzodiazepines during pregnancy. If a woman takes these drugs during pregnancy, they may pass through the placenta and cause serious problems for her baby. 

Babies born with NAS may be more likely than other babies to be born with low birthweight, breathing problems, feeding problems, seizures and other birth defects. Babies with NAS may also require a longer hospital stay after birth than babies born without NAS. 

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms can be different for every baby. Most may appear within 72 hours of birth, but some may appear immediately after birth or within a few weeks. These may include: 

  • Body shakes, seizures, overactive reflexes and tight muscles
  • Fussiness, excessive crying or having a high-pitched cry
  • Poor feeding, poor sucking or slow weight gain
  • Breathing really fast
  • Fever, sweating or blotchy skin
  • Trouble sleeping and lots of yawning
  • Diarrhea or throwing up
  • Stuffy nose or sneezing 
Not all babies with NAS may exhibit the same symptoms; symptoms may vary from baby to baby. Some babies may exhibit very mild symptoms while others may be more severe, and may include seizures.

Who is a candidate? 

Pregnant women currently using any of the following prescription, non-prescription or illicit drugs may be a candidate: 
  • Codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, acetaminophen, hydromorphone, meperidine, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, amphetamines, methamphetamines, heroin, PCP, LSD, marijuana, etc. 

Assistance Beyond Delivery

Our team will continue to work with moms and families after delivery. We help facilitate rehabilitation arrangements, provide lactation consultation and educational classes, and help connect moms with available community and government resources. Our goal is to provide a safe place for mom, and help keep mom and baby on the the Nest at Baptist Health System.