Heroin & Pregnancy

The use of heroin can lead to serious complications during pregnancy, which include increased risk of miscarriage and premature birth.

Children born to addicted mothers are at a greater risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

It is unsafe for pregnant women to suddenly stop taking heroin, due to these increased risks, and a safest approach in this instance is for the pregnant woman to enter a methadone programme.

This leads in some instances to the child becoming physically dependent on methadone, but this is usually easily treated.

If a pregnant woman is already using Subutex when she falls pregnant, a careful evaluation needs to be carried out in order to establish whether she should continue use of the drug. Subutex should not be started for the first time during pregnancy as the safety of the child cannot be guaranteed; studies carried out on animals have suggested a risk of toxicity and a possible delay in neurological development.

New mothers should also be aware that small quantities of the drug can be found in breast milk, and so bottle feeding should be a serious consideration for users of any opiate-based drug.


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