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Moms Who’ve Had Surgery Are At Greater Risk For Infants With NAS

Women who have surgery during pregnancy have an increased chance of delivering a baby with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.

Many mothers have to have surgery while they are pregnant. Just because a woman becomes pregnant does not mean that she is not vulnerable to the many health issues that non-pregnant women deal with. Some women might have to have surgery for various reasons including extreme bone breaks that require surgery, appendicitis, gallbladder, or even the removal of kidney stones. All of these things can still happen during pregnancy and will require immediate/swift surgeries. There are many surgeries that cannot wait until the mother is no longer pregnant.

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A study has shown that women who undergo surgery during pregnancy have an increased chance of having a child who is diagnosed with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) according to a Canadian study located at University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre in Montreal. In the longitudinal cohort study, the risk ratio for NAS was 1.63 (95% CI 1.49-1.78) for mothers who had surgery during pregnancy compared to those women who did not experience any surgeries. Women who had more surgeries during pregnancy had an even greater chance of delivering a baby with NAS. If women had 3 or more surgeries during pregnancy they had a 2.3 higher chance of having a NAS baby.

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Most of the women who underwent surgery were also given opioids to help deal with the pain from the surgery. There has been an increasing number of women who have been prescribed opioids during pregnancy and there have been an increased amount of babies who have been diagnosed with NAS. In 2003 the number of babies that were born with NAS was 3.6 per 1,000 live births. In 2013 the amount jumped up to 7.3 per 1,000 births. Although opioids have shown to not pass through the placenta and cause immediate harm to the baby if taken for a short amount of time, it has proven to cause effects on the baby if taken in high quantities and for longer periods of time. Doctors who prescribe opioids during pregnancy will advise women to only take the medication for a short amount of time and take as little as possible.

Although many surgeries during pregnancy are vital to the woman's or baby's health, it is important for women to know the possible risks that might be involved in having surgeries while pregnant.

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