When expectant mothers take certain medications and drugs, the substances can expose the babies and expectant mothers to a number of risks. Taking prescription medicines such as opioids can lead to addiction for both mothers and babies. That’s why it’s important to know what medications are best for mothers and children.
After labor, a mother’s body is recovering and changing from the physical and emotional stress of having a baby. Meanwhile, the baby’s tiny body is still developing and may not be able to handle certain medications. Consulting with doctors about medications for mothers and newborns may help prevent problems such as addiction, overdoses, or death. If mothers are struggling with addiction while expecting or after they give birth, they may want to consider finding addiction care experienced in treating people in their situations.
Medications and Drugs: What Should and Should Not Be Used
Newborns have limited immunity to viruses and illnesses, which leaves their tiny immune systems at risk. This means babies may frequently become sick. While medications can help, people should work with medical professionals to determine if the drugs are safe and to find the correct dosage amounts so they don’t make the situation worse.
Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are classic go-to medications for many people because they provide relief and last a long time. Babies can tolerate a certain amount of both of these drugs. In fact, manufacturers formulate some types of these drugs specifically for babies.
Since most babies are born without teeth, mothers typically give infants liquid forms of medicine. While liquid forms of medication are more concentrated, they are also easier to administer. Squirting liquid into babies’ mouths is often easier than injecting them with shots, since babies, especially sick babies, can become frustrated and cranky. Mothers may also want to discuss using different probiotics and home remedies with their medical providers.
Seven Medicines You Should Not Give Your Baby
There are many different reasons not to give babies certain types of medicine. Doing research and seeking a doctor’s opinion are good ways to determine whether certain drugs are safe for your child to consume. While there are many medications suitable for children, there are also drugs you should NOT give your infant, including:
Never give your baby aspirin, no matter the circumstances, unless a doctor instructs you to do so. Aspirin makes children susceptible to Reye’s syndrome, a potentially fatal disorder that affects the brain and liver.
Note that aspirin is also known as acetylsalicylic acid or salicylate. These multiple names underscore the importance of reading the labels on medicine, especially if people want to avoid drugs such as aspirin.
Over-the-Counter (OTC) Cold and Cough Medicine
Doctors, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warn that people should not give young children over-the-counter cough or cold medicines.
Such medications may not actually relieve symptoms at this young age and can do more harm than good. Children who use these types of drugs can experience drowsiness, stomach pain, rashes, and hives. They may even need to visit the hospital.
Products created for adults can be dangerous to a baby’s health. Even giving children smaller doses of adult medicine can potentially be fatal.
Many medicines made for adults also have versions created for children. They often will include words such as child, children’s, or baby on their labels. Adults should study the drugs’ ingredients, hazards, side effects, and dosage amount to determine if they are suitable for babies and children.
Medication for nausea is to prevent and stop stomach pain and nausea. Adults should not give babies over-the-counter or prescription nausea medication unless their doctors specifically recommended them. Nausea medication may produce risks.
It can be difficult to determine if babies have trouble with nausea. Many babies spit up or throw up a lot after eating. Many quickly recover from such spells, but if such spells seem worse than usual, adults may want to contact physicians to determine if their children are dehydrated or suffering from other conditions.
Medication Not Prescribed to Your Baby
Adults should not take prescription medicine that is not intended for them. Neither should babies.
Medicine specifically prescribed to someone is intended to cure them of given problems. If people give this medication to children, it might not work. Or, it could severely harm them. In addition, it is illegal to use prescription medication intended for other people.
Chewable medication and supplements can be choking hazards to small children and infants. If people give their children chewable medications and supplements, the substances could become lodged in their small throats and impair their breathing.
Instead, adults should consider giving children other forms of drugs and supplements. If children are able to eat solid foods, they may be able to take their medications in the form of tablets. Adults may want to crush these tablets into powder to prevent choking hazards.
Just like food, medicine has expiration dates. People may want to consider throwing medications away after the drugs expire. They should also discard discolored medicine and medicine that has changed in other ways.
After drugs expire, they may no longer be effective for their purposes and can even be harmful. People should also be careful how they dispose of drugs, since flushing some medications down the toilet can contaminate the water supply. There are programs that allow people to turn in their old or expired medications.
Drugs: Addiction in Mothers
While drug addiction in general is negative, mothers who are addicted to drugs and their children face even more problems. Addicted pregnant mothers run the risk of giving birth to addicted children.
Drug using mothers who have just given birth (postpartum mothers) can also contribute to their children’s drug addictions. If addicted mothers breastfeed their children, they expose their babies to the drugs they use. Their babies then may become reliant on drugs or may overdose.
Addiction can also cause mothers to overdose and neglect their children, which can lead them to lose custody and parental rights. Seeking addiction care help is a solid treatment option, because stopping drugs without assistance could cause more problems. Mothers who struggle with drugs and receive addiction care have better chances of obtaining sobriety and keeping their children.