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Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is a group of problems that occur in a newborn who was exposed to addictive illegal or prescription drugs while in the mother' s womb.
Neonatal abstinence syndrome occurs because a pregnant woman takes addictive illicit or prescription drugs such as:
These and other drugs pass through the placenta â€“ the organ that connects the baby to its mother in the womb â€“ and reach the baby. The baby becomes addicted along with the mother.
At birth, the baby is still dependent on the drug. Because the baby is no longer getting the drug after birth, symptoms of withdrawal occur.
Alcohol use during pregnancy can also cause problems in the baby. See: Fetal alcohol syndrome
Ford MD, Delaney KA, Ling L, Erickson T, eds. Clinical Toxicology. 1st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2001.
Ebner N. Management of neonatal abstinence syndrome in neonates born to opioid maintained women. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2007;87:131-138.
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