pregnant woman

Can I Taper Off Methadone While Pregnant?

Methadone treatment in Florida is given to people who are struggling with opiate addiction. It can effectively manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms, allowing you to return to a more normal life. When your symptoms are under control, you can benefit from substance abuse treatment, counseling and educational assistance. 

However, methadone is not without risk. The biggest risk factor is that it has a significant potential for abuse. In fact, some people claim that all methadone maintenance does is substitute one addiction for another.

But what happens when you have an added curveball thrown at you – you’re taking methadone and you find out you’re pregnant. Most women don’t plan for this to happen, but it does. Can you stop methadone when you’re expecting, or is safe to continue this medication? 

Methadone Withdrawal Not Recommended in First and Third Trimesters 

In an ideal world, you wouldn’t have to worry about opioids or methadone. But now that you are here, it’s important to understand the risks of continuing methadone during pregnancy and what options you have for tapering off. 

According to The Pharmaceutical Journal, methadone can be continued during pregnancy because it’s a safer choice than using illicit substances. Also, abrupting stopping the medication can lead to a spontaneous miscarriage in the first trimester of pregnancy. If you’re still in the first trimester, it’s best to talk to your doctors and continue with your medically-supervised program. 

Stopping methadone in the third trimester of pregnancy is also discouraged because going through withdrawal (even mild withdrawal) can put your baby in distress. If you want to taper off methadone while pregnant, the best time to do this is during your second trimester. You can gradually decrease your dose by 2-3mg every three to five days until you are successfully off methadone (you must be under medical supervision).

Methadone After Pregnancy and Delivery 

Giving birth while participating in an opioid addiction treatment program in Florida is something to be proud of. But there are a couple of things you’ll want to keep in mind. 

  • Monitoring for NAS. Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is a group of conditions that can happen when a baby withdraws from opioids, including methadone. Your doctors will monitor your baby for signs of NAS before you leave the hospital. They are typically most noticeable 24-48 hours after birth. 
  • Planning for parenthood. Being a mother is hard work, so it’s important to build a healthy support network around you. Continue following your aftercare plan and doctors’ orders, which should include support groups, parenting classes, therapy, life skills education and more. 

Once you deliver a healthy baby, you can work with your doctor to taper off methadone and maintain your sobriety. To find a Port Saint Lucie treatment center that works with pregnant women, contact Drug Help Line today. We have many connections in Florida and can help you find the specialized, compassionate treatment you and your baby deserve.