Yes. They can and they unfortunately are. In West Virginia’s Cabell County-Huntington Hospital alone each day may see up to five babies born addicted. In a year, that hospital delivers 2,900 babies and a full fifth of them have been exposed to controlled substances in the womb. Up to 400 of these babies may need medication for withdrawal.
The Stark Reality of Withdrawal
Withdrawal is a challenge for anyone. It involves intense physical and mental pressures. For a baby it is especially hard and life threatening. The sounds of the monitors must be turned off because they are too over stimulating. Nurses can’t bounce or play with the babies as they normally should. Even smiling at the babies is understood to be too overwhelming so when the babies are cramping their only comfort is to be turned to face a dull gray wall.
West Virginia is not the only state that is forced to confront such a painful truth of addicted infants. From Florida to Hawaii, overwhelmed doctors and nurses work to save the babies’ lives. The most important key to their success is a safe, stable, and sober home environment for the baby to go into once is is released from the hospital.
A Sobering Truth
If you are the parent of a baby born addicted to opioids it is so important that you get clean. Many new parents are unaware of postpartum depression and may use more or relapse after the baby is born. Many also feel shame or guilt at the baby’s health. There are support groups to help and it is important that the baby grow up in an environment free from drugs, with a parent who is capable of caring for them.
If you are addicted to opioids and are pregnant or may become pregnant, please seek help. Seek help for yourself and seek help for the child. Send us a message or call us at (833) 596-3502 to learn about your options.