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What is Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome (NOWS)?

During pregnancy, medications the mother takes can cross the placenta and enter the baby’s bloodstream. When the baby is born, he or she is no longer exposed to the medication, but may still be dependent on the drug. This can lead to a group of problems known as Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome (NOWS). It is important that parents and staff work together as a team to ensure the baby is as comfortable as possible. Mothers who meet this criteria are encouraged to contact the Labor & Delivery Unit Director prior to delivery at (256) 817-5187.

This video was produced by our sister facility, Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children. Madison Hospital uses the same evidence-based infant withdrawal treatment program.

Signs of withdrawal

  • High-pitched or excessive cry
  • Tremors/jitteriness
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Stuffy nose or sneezing
  • Feeding difficulties
  • Increased tone
  • Fever
  • Fast breathing
  • Vomiting/diarrhea
  • Skin irritation
  • Sweating
  • Seizures