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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Contact the Maternal and Child Health Section

  • 850-245-4465
  • Fax

    850-245-4047
  • Mailing Address

    4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin A13

    Tallahassee, FL 32399-1721

When pregnant women take prescription medications, other drugs or alcohol, their babies may be born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). These substances pass through the placenta to the baby during pregnancy. The placenta is the organ that connects the baby to its mother in the womb. 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 may occur. The withdrawal symptoms may include fever, seizures, blotchy skin, incessant shrill cries, respiratory problems, and extreme sensitivity to sounds and light.

There are many ways to help women of child-bearing age and expectant mothers decrease or eliminate drug withdrawal for their baby.

Resources:

Born Drug Free Florida: GET HELP 1-877-233-5656 

Healthy Start Directory

The Family Health Line at 1-800-451-2229

Zero Exposure Project:  This website is intended as a resource for information about drugs, alcohol, and pregnancy. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your health care provider.

Perinatology.com: Provides information on the effects of prescription and non-prescription drugs in pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Pregnancy Calendar: These slides show the stages of pregnancy. By looking at the parts of the fetus that are developing, you can see what parts of the fetus can be damaged by smoking, drinking or using certain drugs while pregnant.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Symptoms

Symptoms depend on the drug involved. They can begin within 1 - 3 days after birth, or they may take 5 - 10 days to appear. They may include:

  • Blotchy skin coloring (mottling)
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive crying or high-pitched crying
  • Excessive sucking
  • Fever
  • Hyperactive reflexes
  • Increased muscle tone
  • Irritability
  • Poor feeding
  • Rapid breathing
  • Seizures
  • Sleep problems
  • Slow weight gain
  • Stuffy nose, sneezing
  • Sweating
  • Trembling (tremors)
  • Vomiting
Call your doctor or nurse if your baby has symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome.