Pregnancy and Women’s Health

At CMS, we recognize the unique healthcare needs of our female clients. Methadone or buprenorphine, along with evidence-based behavioral therapies, is recommended by the SAMHSA as the standard of care for treating pregnant women with OUD. CMS coordinates with OBGYN and other medical providers to ensure the highest quality of care.

Pregnancy & MAT

CMS offers a variety of services to help women who are pregnant. Our goal is to empower you as a leader in your recovery, with benefits to you and your baby. Methadone during pregnancy is considered the gold standard of care by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. For most women with OUD, experts agree that the benefits of medications for OUD outweigh the potential risks. MAT is not harmful to the developing baby, and mothers are encouraged to continue with MAT throughout their pregnancy.

Benefits of MAT During Pregnancy

  • Improves nutrition for the mother, which increases the baby’s birth weight – women receiving MAT tend to have larger and healthier babies and are more likely to reach full-term deliveries than women receiving no treatment for their OUD
  • Enhances a woman’s ability to prepare for the birth
  • Reduces the risk of preterm birth and complications
  • Improves prenatal care and other rehabilitative efforts
  • Prevents fluctuations of the mother’s drug level that may occur, minimizing the risk of withdrawals for the baby in utero
  • Reduces illicit drug use and helps to remove opioid-dependent women from the drug-seeking environment

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)

Babies cannot be born “addicted” to opioids or any other substance.  However, after delivery the baby will not receive as much medication from the mother and may experience fussiness, poor feeding, poor sleeping, and jitteriness – this is called neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).  Not all babies have symptoms, and simple measures often get babies through them if they do occur – CMS offers a variety of resources to help educate new moms on helping their baby if they show signs of NAS. The risk of the baby having significant NAS symptoms is NOT related to the mother’s dose of medication.  For most women, it is recommended to continue MAT during pregnancy; remaining on OUD medications is generally the safest choice for BOTH the mother and baby.

Stopping MAT during pregnancy may cause lower birth weight, increased complications, and a return to substance use, putting mother and baby at risk; tapering off MAT during pregnancy should be avoided if possible. Stopping opioids (and other substances) immediately may not be safe, particularly during pregnancy, due to the additional risk to the developing baby, who may also go through withdrawal. If you do decide to taper from MAT during pregnancy, you should only do so after consultation with medical professionals.