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Suboxone and Pregnancy: A Guide for Expecting Mothers

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Many people make the mistake of assuming that a pregnant woman can stop using drugs the second she finds out that she is pregnant because a maternal instinct takes over and her body automatically no longer craves the drugs she is addicted to. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. It’s important to learn about suboxone and pregnancy.

There are many women who try to stop using drugs but aren’t successful with their efforts because their addiction is too strong. When this happens, babies can be born addicted to the drugs and the mother will need to go through treatment in order to be able to overcome her addiction. Suboxone is often used to help make battling an addiction easier.

Below is some useful information to know if you are battling an addiction and want to use suboxone while you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Suboxone and Pregnancy: About the Medication

Suboxone is a controlled substance that must be prescribed by a medical professional. It contains Buprenorphine and Naloxone. The Buprenorphine helps to reduce an addict’s urge to use, while the Naloxone reverses the effects the opioids cause.

When the two are taken together, they help to minimize or even prevent the withdrawal symptoms that are common when detoxing from opiates. Buprenorphine is classified as a Category C medication by the FDA because of the chances of their being adverse effects from taking it.

It’s ideal for anyone who has wanted to quit using opioids but hasn’t been able to overcome the addiction on their own.

Studies About Suboxone and Pregnancy

Many people avoid taking suboxone while they are because they fear that it will have an adverse effect on their baby’s development or cause mental defects. If you do drugs while you are pregnant, the chances of your baby having something developmentally wrong with them are very high.

Studies have shown that babies who were exposed to suboxone while they were in the who had no significant differences when tested from babies who were not exposed to it. There are cases where babies who were exposed to suboxone neonatally did go through neonatal withdrawal though.

Neonatal withdrawal typically becomes obvious within up to eight days of birth. Some infants suffer from neonatal agitation, tremors, seizures, respiratory depression, bradycardia, apnea and more. Doctors closely monitor any babies who are going through neonatal withdrawal to make sure that they are given the care that they need.

Many babies who are suffering from withdrawal symptoms do stay in the hospital longer than infants who are not going through withdrawal because they need to be monitored so closely.

Suboxone and Breastfeeding

Studies have shown that breastfeeding is of the best ways to provide your baby with the nutrients that they need early in life. It’s important to ensure that your diet is safe for your baby. Mothers who are taking suboxone to overcome addiction are often fearful to breastfeed while they take the medication because they are worried that it will cause adverse side effects for their breastfeeding children. It’s important to know that suboxone is ingested through breast milk.

Less than 1 percent of the dose that the mother takes is passed through her breastmilk though. It’s important to monitor your baby closely when you are breastfeeding and taking suboxone though. You want to be sure that he or she is eating well, gaining weight, not lethargic and not sleeping constantly.

If you notice any of these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor right away.  Suboxone doesn’t inhibit to lactate either. You can still produce the same amount of milk when you take suboxone as you would if you didn’t take it. Freezing the breastmilk is also safe when you are taking suboxone. The suboxone will not become more potent from being frozen.

Please Discuss Suboxone and Pregnancy with Your Doctor

Suboxone has been shown to be very beneficial for many pregnant or breastfeeding mothers because it helps them regain control of their life and be the best mother that they can. It’s important to talk to your doctor about your particular situation so that he or she can help you develop a plan for overcoming your addiction.

You want to be sure that you talk about any worries that you have and discuss what side effects are possible so that you can make an informed decision about if suboxone treatment is right for you.

Once you start using suboxone to treat your opioids addiction, it’s important to take the medication as prescribed. If you are fearful that you may take it improperly, you may want to try to enroll you in an inpatient treatment program so that you can get the help you need to stay on track and reach your overall goal of sobriety.

You cannot stop breastfeeding abruptly while you are taking suboxone. Even though Suboxone is ingested in such small amounts by your infant, stopping abruptly could cause the baby to go into withdrawal and experience symptoms that you don’t want them to experience.

If you feel that you are ready to stop using suboxone or that it is time to stop breastfeeding your little one, talk to your doctor about the situation.

He or she can help you learn how to wean your little one from breastmilk in a safe way or walk you through the process of how to minimize the doses of suboxone that you are taking over time so that you and the baby can slowly stop taking it.

If Suboxone Can Help You, There is No Need to Be Ashamed

Living with a drug addiction can be very difficult. Trying to take care of a baby and overcome drug addiction can be even harder. Getting professional help for an opioid addiction while pregnant or after having a baby can help you to provide yourself and your baby with the life that you both truly deserve.

It’s best to find out what options are available to you as quickly as you can. The longer you take drugs while you are pregnant or breastfeeding, the more damage you could be causing to your little one. The long-term side effects of infant exposure to opioids can be severe and life changing so getting help right away could save your baby from a lifetime of complications.



[1] Observational study of the safety of buprenorphine+naloxone in pregnancy in a rural and remote population. (2016, October 1). Retrieved from

[2] (2010, August). Suboxone Label: Highlights of Prescribing Information. Retrieved from

[3] What’s the Best Breastfeeding Diet? A Guide for New Moms. (2019, February 18). Retrieved from

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