Can You Take Hydrocodone While Pregnant?

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on August 16, 2023

Pregnant women should not take hydrocodone because it’s a powerful opioid which can pass from mother to fetus via the placenta. This can create serious side effects and dangers to the child.

Pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding should avoid hydrocodone, as this powerful pain reliever can lead to serious side effects and dangers to the mother and child. If you’re pregnant or become pregnant, speak with your prescribing healthcare provider to determine the risks.

Hydrocodone is a prescription opioid drug used to help those suffering from chronic pain. This opioid pain medication is a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse that can lead to drug dependence.

Dangers Of Taking Hydrocodone While Pregnant

Abusing hydrocodone can lead to an increased risk of the child developing certain health conditions. This is because the drug can pass from the mother to the fetus via the placenta.

In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the use of opioids while pregnant may cause life-threatening concerns for the baby depending on the amount of exposure to the drug

Poor birth outcomes may include:

  • low birth weight
  • poor feeding
  • poor fetal growth
  • preterm labor or birth
  • birth defects
  • stillbirth
  • maternal death

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is a condition which can also occur in newborn babies. The symptoms of this withdrawal syndrome may occur within 72 hours after birth.

Some of the withdrawal symptoms the baby may experience consist of:

  • seizures
  • vomiting
  • tremors
  • yawning
  • sneezing
  • sweating
  • sleeping difficulty
  • excessive crying

Birth Defects

Unfortunately, drug use during any of the weeks of pregnancy may cause birth defects if the fetus is harmed. Certain birth defects can lead to the death of the baby such as congenital heart defects. 

Heart defects may have a greater chance of occurring if hydrocodone is abused during the first trimester.

The opening of the abdomen, known as gastroschisis can take place. Additionally, spina bifida, a condition which can create an opening of the spine or spinal cord, may occur. Any of these health problems may create lasting or life-threatening issues for the baby.

Hydrocodone Overdose

Those who continuously take higher doses of the drug may suffer from a hydrocodone overdose. Symptoms a pregnant woman might experience during an overdose, as stated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), include:

  • coma
  • respiratory depression
  • low blood pressure
  • hypotension
  • clammy or cold skin
  • heart attack
  • death

If you suspect an overdose has taken place, contact 911 immediately and seek urgent medical attention.

Other Substances To Avoid While Pregnant

There are potential risks of combining medications. Additionally, there are drugs which pregnant women should not take.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states other substances pregnant woman should avoid include:

  • over-the-counter painkillers
  • tramadol
  • fentanyl
  • buprenorphine
  • codeine
  • oxycodone (OxyContin)
  • ibuprofen
  • Norco (hydrocodone and acetaminophen)
  • alcohol
  • Lortab, Lorcet, Vicodin
  • methadone

Taking any of these substances can be harmful to the mother and child.

Prescription Opioid Addiction Treatment

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse involving prescription opioids, consider finding a treatment center. At Ohio Recovery Center, we provide numerous resources and inpatient treatment options for those seeking sobriety.

We offer detox, evidence-based therapies, and aftercare options. To speak with one of our healthcare representatives who can help find a specialized treatment plan just for you, please contact us today.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  3. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus
  4. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus
  5. National Institute on Drug Abuse

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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