UPMC Magee offers outpatient clinical treatment for women, as well as inpatient services for pregnant women. Magee’s experienced care providers offer women comprehensive and compassionate treatment to help them manage substance use disorders.
Magee is one of only a few hospitals in the region to offer inpatient medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) as well as outpatient services during pregnancy. Please call 412-641-1211 for more information about our programs or go to Magee’s Emergency Department for 24/7 care.
Magee offers multiple options of treatment. We will review your options with you to help you decide what is best for you, your recovery, and your family at that time.
If a pregnant woman takes medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD), 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. This does not mean that the baby is “born addicted”. In fact, mothers who are in recovery are better able to care for their babies than when they are using substances, and MOUD is considered much safer than illicit drugs for pregnant women. Newborns with withdrawal symptoms can be treated in the hospital after they are born.
Neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS) is the presence of opioid withdrawal symptoms in a newborn. The severity of symptoms depends on several factors, including the type of substance used or if multiple substances are 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 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 NOWS. 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 NOWS assessment shows that medication is needed, your baby may be transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). If no medication is needed, continued observation still may be needed.
Magee recognizes the importance of caregiver-infant bonding. Infants born to mothers with opioid use disorder will remain with their mothers whenever possible. We offer our Parent Partnership Unit (PPU), an inpatient program for babies who have been born with NOWS, 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.
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 have concerns, call your doctor.
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 your county’s children and youth agency to help prevent older children from being removed from the home while their mothers are in treatment.