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Mothers' opioid use can lead to withdrawal, neonatal abstinence syndrome in newborns

Michelle Bode, MDA growing number of babies are born to mothers who took a narcotic of some kind during pregnancy, and that puts the babies at risk for developing neonatal abstinence syndrome, says Michelle Bode, MD, an Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital assistant professor and Crouse Hospital neonatologist. Within the first week of life, a baby who was exposed to prescription or nonprescription opioids in the womb may become irritable, have trouble feeding and develop a shrill cry, she says. The baby is likely to have a longer-than-normal hospital stay, which impacts on bonding time with his or her mother. Bode points out that for mothers who watch their babies go through withdrawal, "the shame and guilt is immense."