UPMC Magee Recovery Services provide comprehensive and compassionate inpatient and outpatient programs to help pregnant women with opioid use disorder (OUD) and their babies. Magee is one of only a few hospitals in the region to offer inpatient medicine-assisted treatment (MAT) and conversion during pregnancy.
If a pregnant woman takes medicine-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder, some of that medication will get into the baby’s system. Therefore, there is a risk that the baby may experience withdrawal symptoms when they are born. However, new mothers who are in recovery are better able to care for their babies than when they are using substances, and MAT is considered much safer than street drugs for pregnant women. Newborns with withdrawal symptoms can be treated in the hospital after they are born.
Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is the presence of drug withdrawal symptoms in a newborn. The severity of symptoms depends on several factors, including your regular dose size, how long you have been using, the type of substance used, and the date of your last dose.
Typically, a baby will begin showing withdrawal symptoms 24 to 48 hours after birth but can show symptoms as late as five to 10 days after birth. Symptoms may include:
An NAS assessment of withdrawal is made based on your baby’s symptoms and their severity. Your baby may need medication or an IV if they are dehydrated and may need to stay longer in a special care setting. All babies, whether they are taking medication or not, will be under continuous observation.
Babies respond to withdrawal differently. All infants are checked at birth using a standardized assessment tool for evidence of NAS. Based on the assessment, infants may require an extended stay in a special care setting and may or may not be treated with medications.
If the NAS assessment shows that medication is needed, your baby may be transferred to a Level II nursery. If no medication is needed, continued observation still may be needed.
Magee recognizes the importance of mother-infant bonding. Infants born to mothers with OUD will remain with their mothers whenever possible.
During hospitalization, you and your baby will be assessed, and plans will be made for your outpatient follow-up care. A plan for follow-up care for your baby will be made with a pediatrician in your own community.
Our partnership with the Perinatal Addiction Center of UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital enables us to treat you for single or multiple substance abuse disorders.
To help comfort your baby, turn off bright lights and loud noises. Try wrapping your baby in a swaddling blanket and gently rocking them, using a soft voice to soothe them. A crying baby can be stressful, so try to relax yourself. Take slow, deep breaths to calm yourself as you try to calm your baby. If you need more help or you have concerns, call your doctor.
Yes, through our Parent Partnership Unit (PPU), an inpatient program at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital for babies who have been born with NAS.
Our role as a health care provider is to keep women and their babies as healthy as possible. We are not here to punish women who are asking for help. Our programs are family-focused and recognize the importance of keeping mothers and their babies together as they recover and go onto happy, healthy futures. We also work with Children, Youth and Families to help prevent older children from being removed from the home while their mothers are in treatment.
Yes! Women of all ages may enroll in community medicine-assisted treatment (MAT) programs through our Women’s Recovery Center. Simply come to the emergency department at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital or call us at 412-641-1211 to get into the program.