Newborn babies are the most recent casualties of the U.S. opioid crisis.
With prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin being used by women who are pregnant, the result is an “explosion” of infants who are as addicted to the drugs as their mothers. Current published data in JAMA Pediatrics shows that the number of cases of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) has risen exponentially in the nation from 2000-2012, with nearly 22,000 affected infants in that last year alone.
“The babies, they really suffer, just like adults do when they withdraw from narcotics,” Dr. Terrie Inder, chair of pediatric newborn medicine at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, tells CBS News. “The babies are very irritable and sometimes have high heart rates, sweating, flushing, diarrhea. They cry a lot.”
Among other things, experts also fear that:
• The much-needed early “bonding” between mother and child is disrupted, because the babies’ average hospital stay is 24 days;
• The mothers – often unaware of the potential consequences from the painkillers they’ve been taking – experience what Inder calls “anxiety and guilt.”
Neck discomfort and back pain are common during pregnancy, primarily due to postural changes that can result in spine and pelvic pain. The question becomes whether this latest development – along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation last year for physicians to dramatically curtail prescribing opioids – will encourage women to seek other alternatives, such as drug-free chiropractic care.
“All chiropractors are trained to work with women who are pregnant,” says the American Pregnancy Association, touting their expertise in “establishing pelvic balance and alignment.”
As the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress notes, visits to highly educated and trained doctors of chiropractic are covered by most insurance and health plans.