Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) refers to symptoms of withdrawal that babies can develop after birth if their mothers have taken medications or drugs during their pregnancy that can be addictive.

Download an information sheet on opiate use during pregnancy
Download an information sheet on Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
Download a neonatal reference guide for providers

Cause of Symptoms

Many drugs used by mothers can reach the baby while they are in the womb. Once the baby is born, they can no longer receive the drug from their mother’s body, and may develop symptoms of NAS. These symptoms may include irritability, poor feeding, fever, sweating, stuffy nose, vomiting, stiffness or seizures.

Common Drugs Responsible

  • Narcotics: methadone, morphine, Oxycodone, Percocet and Vicodin
  • Muscle relaxants and antidepressants: Valium (diazepam), Ativan (lorazepam), Xanax
  • Other potentially addictive drugs: cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and methamphetamine

It is very important that you let your nurse and doctor know about any drugs used during your pregnancy. This will help your caregivers to give appropriate medicines to you and your baby, deliver the best care, and discharge your baby home as soon as safely possible after birth. We cannot predict which babies will have NAS. The amount of drugs or medicines that the baby receives in the womb does not always match the symptoms that each baby may have after they are born.

Resources at Children’s Minnesota

If a newborn develops neonatal abstinence syndrome, Children’s is able to help with support and treatment through our neonatal care program as well as the following:

The Mother Baby Center

Primary care clinics
Learn where our clinics are located

Breastfeeding Resource Center
Minneapolis: 612-863-4638 | St. Paul: 651-241-6250

Family Resource Center Library
Minneapolis: 612-813-6816 | St. Paul: 651-220-6368