Many doctors support getting expectant mothers battling addiction healthy enough to take care of their children. Dr. Lisa McGill-Vargas, MEDNAX-affiliated neonatologist, says she sees babies withdrawing from drugs every week in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at MultiCare Deaconess Hospital in Spokane, Wash. A newborn withdrawing from drugs is known as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, or NAS. Doctors use a scoring system to identify whether a baby is withdrawing. Signs include shaking, sweating, inability to feed and be consoled, a high-pitched cry and sometimes seizures. NAS is treated with music therapy, infant massage, occupational therapy and morphine for seizures. Dr. McGill-Vargas says that the baby is their number one priority, but she believes mothers addicted to drugs deserve a chance to raise their children, even if they used while pregnant. Her hope is that mothers will reveal they’re using as early as possible so that she can start treating their baby sooner.
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