Doctors take extra measures for babies born addicted to drugs


MISSOULA, Mont. - A mother testing positive for drugs does not mean the baby will be addicted. That will depend on their mother's usage. Just the same, we're told there are many reasons to be worried.

A doctor at Community Medical Center explained measures they would have to take.

Dr. Bardett Fausett is a labor delivery director and sees pregnant woman every day. Most are healthy but others are drug users.

"Those babies we just watch closely for jitteriness, withdrawal. That's what the pediatricians do -- our pediatric colleagues -- and make sure that they are not having big vital sign changes and then they manage them," said Fausett.

Fausett explained that doctors will test for drugs if they see unusual signs from the mother or the baby.

"If babies are born addicted to drugs, a lot of times the big issue is what drugs, and sometimes we don't know but typically babies are monitored in the hospital for anywhere from an extra day to two weeks," explained Fausett.

He said that doctors pay close attention to the babies' heart rates, blood pressure and observe how they are responding. He has dealt with mothers who are users before.

"Moms that have known drug-use histories, and sometimes we'll have a contract with them that says, OK, 'we're going to test you every so often' and they enter into those agreements," said Fausett.

Fausett has had patients on methamphetamine. He explained that, unlike narcotics where the baby has to be weaned off the drugs, babies born addicted to meth don't usually get medicine after being born.

"From a mother's perspective, those drugs can precipitate pre-term labor, they can result in babies being small, they can result in placental separations with bleeding," explained Fausett.

Studies are showing that those children are more likely to have ADHD, anxiety disorders and behavioral problems.