Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Protocol For Opiate Detox During Pregnancy

Those addicted to opiates while pregnant must make a point to detox to avoid serious health risks to their unborn children. Physicians recommend mothers seek professional help to curb their addictions as quickly as possible, so the child is not born with an opiate addiction. Prior to beginning detoxification, it is important to discuss treatment options with your doctor to ensure a healthy and happy pregnancy moving forward.

Standard Protocol

When an expecting mother expresses interest in opiate detox, the standard protocol is typically a physician supervised methadone treatment plan. Because methadone use is not directly attributable to any known birth defects, it is widely considered the healthiest alternative. Other common medications include Subutex or Suboxone, but due to a heightened risk of harm to the fetus, these drugs are not recommended when treating pregnant women.

Methadone Maintenance

Maintenance and weaning are the two methods used most commonly in opiate detoxification. A patient who is “weaned” is administered doses of the drug in slowly tapering dosages until a point where use is hindered completely. These patients will still experience withdrawal symptoms, but to a much lesser extent. While this method is certainly effective, many physicians avoid it due to the risk of killing the fetus. As such, methadone maintenance is often employed to ensure a healthy and comfortable birth for both mother and child. In this method, mothers are provided a small dose of methadone daily for the pregnancy’s duration.


Though many physicians consider methadone maintenance the safest pregnancy detox method, the choice is ultimately up to the mother. Drug detox of any kind, especially while pregnant, can be extremely risky.

Need Help?

If you or a loved one is struggling with an opiate dependency, our Above It All treatment specialists are available to help! Give us a call today, and let our team help you back on track towards the healthy and happy life you deserve.

1 comment:

  1. Honestly I could never be addicted to something that would hurt my unborn child. To know that this is an issue really hurts my heart and I hope those mothers do seek help for not only themselves but their babies!