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Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is a growing problem in the United States. NAS occurs when newborn babies experience withdrawal after being exposed to drugs in the womb. NAS can cause low birth weight and other complications leading to prolonged hospitalization. NAS can occur with a variety of both illicit and prescription drugs, including some prescription painkillers. The rates of NAS increased 5 times between the year 2000 and the year 2013. As of 2012, there was an average of one infant born with NAS every 25 minutes in the United States, accounting for an estimated $1.5 billion in healthcare spending that year alone.
Fortunately, NAS is preventable if an expectant mother receives proper care and treatment. One of the most effective prevention strategies is to improve preconception health care, and to educate both patients and providers about appropriate use of prescription drugs during pregnancy. Though there have been some recent initiatives to reduce rates of opioid use, few have included a focus on pregnant women and their babies. Screening of pregnant women can also be an effective prevention strategy by determining who may need additional care or treatment for opioid use.
In this session of Public Health Grand Rounds, you will hear how CDC is working with state and local partners to develop better policies for opioid prescribing among pregnant women. You will also hear how providers and patients can work together to prevent NAS by learning more about the choices that they make.
Beyond the Data
NAS in the News
- CAPT Wanda D. Barfield, MD, MPH, FAAP
- Director, Division of Reproductive Health
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC
- Cheryl S. Broussard, PhD
- Health Scientist, Birth Defects Branch,
Division of Congenital and Developmental Disorders
National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, CDC
- Kimberly A. Yonkers, MD
- Director, Center for Wellbeing of Women and Mothers
Professor, Deparments of Psychiatry, Epidemiology, Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences
Yale University School of Medicine
- Stephen W. Patrick, MD, MPH, MS
- Assistant Professor, Pediatrics and Health Policy, Division of Neonatology
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
- John Iskander, MD, MPH
- Scientific Director
- Phoebe Thorpe, MD, MPH
- Deputy Scientific Director
- Susan Laird, MSN, RN
- Communications Director
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- Page last reviewed: February 28, 2018
- Page last updated: February 28, 2018
- Content source:
- Office of the Associate Director for Science
- Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication