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Research Finds Chronic Opiate Use Affects Newborn Head Circumference

Obstetrics research recently published in the American Journal of Perinatology discusses the effects of chronic opiate use during pregnancy on newborn head circumference. From January 2010 to June 2012, all newborns admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit for treatment of neonatal abstinence syndrome were prospectively collected. Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) occurs when a newborn is subjected to addictive drugs while in the mother’s womb. The research, "Chronic Opiate Use in Pregnancy and Newborn Head Circumference" revealed that chronic opiate use during pregnancy increases the risk for newborns to have a smaller head circumference than other newborns of that gestational age. The newborns, with NAS, who had an ultrasound within 10 days of birth also had shortened femur and humerus lengths, which suggests a possible effect on bone growth. Co-authors for this research are Mark Hennessy, Craig Towers, and Bobby Howard.

View the abstract.

Posted June 16, 2014

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