Pubdate: Sat, 30 Jan 2016
Source: North Bay Nugget (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 North Bay Nugget
Author: Jennifer Hamilton-McCharles
Page: A1


It's A 'Win-Win Situation' For Mother and Child

They're coming into this world shaking and trembling, irritable and 
having a difficult time settling.

Babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome are some of the North 
Bay Regional Health Centre's smallest and most vulnerable patients.

But a new treatment plan is proving to be positive for both mother and baby.

Kim Carter, manager of women and children programming at the health 
centre, said most of the patients who have babies born with neonatal 
abstinence syndrome (NAS) suffer from chronic pain or have been 
diagnosed with chronic illnesses.

"These women require medication to treat their illness, and a 
majority of those patients are supervised by a health-care team," Carter said.

The Children's Aid Society of the District of Nipissing and Parry 
Sound raised concern last summer about the number of babies born 
locally with neonatal abstinence syndrome. Executive director Gisele 
Hebert called the number unprecedented.

In 2012, Hebert said, there were 22 babies born to mothers addicted 
to cocaine, crack, marijuana, morphine, methadone or Oxycontin.

In 2014-15, that number jumped to 48.

Hebert said 10 more babies were born with neonatal abstinence 
syndrome in January. And, she said, that number is not seen elsewhere 
in Ontario.

Neonatal abstinence syndrome occurs when a pregnant woman takes 
narcotic or opiate drugs. The drugs pass through the placenta and the 
baby becomes addicted, along with the mother. The baby is still 
addicted at birth and may experience symptoms of withdrawal and 
symptoms such as irritability, difficulty settling, high-pitch cry, 
tremors, vomiting and diarrhea.

In the past, when a baby was diagnosed with NAS, it was brought to 
the neonatal intensive-care unit for treatment, Carter said. The baby 
stayed in the unit for a few days.

But that has changed.

"The baby and mother are now moved to the paediatric unit where they 
stay together and receive support. The neonatal intensive-care unit 
has monitors that keep beeping, lights are always on and these babies 
need to be kept in a quiet place," Carter said.

Carter calls the paediatric unit a "win-win situation" for mother and baby.
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