Exposed To Drugs In The Womb Essay

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Home Medicine Diet & Fitness Family & Parenting Love & Relationships Mental Health Policy & Industry Viewpoint Drugs Updated Guidelines for Treating Babies Exposed to Drugs in the Womb By Maia Szalavitz | @maiasz | January 30, 2012 | 2 inShare.15 Jade Brookbank / Getty Images The question of how best to help babies who have been exposed to drugs in the womb — including prescription pain medications, antidepressants and illicit drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine — can be an emotionally charged issue. Bringing science to bear on the issue, the American Academy of Pediatrics has just updated its guidelines on treating these infants. The number of babies experiencing drug-related…show more content…
This class of drugs, which includes Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil — the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors — increases levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. The authors report that some exposed infants experience frequent crying, irritability, sleep disturbances and seizures, but the problem usually resolves itself within two weeks. The authors also note that the evidence does not suggest long-term harm from maternal use of antidepressants during pregnancy. They write: Several recent reviews have not identified adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes among infants born to women treated with SSRI’s during pregnancy. SSRI treatment should be continued at the lowest effective dose because withdrawal of medication may have harmful effects on the mother infant [bond]. The problems experienced by babies exposed to antidepressants in utero may not be caused by drug withdrawal at all, since the babies’ symptoms are more consistent with exposure to too much serotonin, not too little, as would be expected if withdrawal from antidepressants were the culprit. MORE: Why Comparing Painkillers to Crack Doesn’t Help Exposed

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