Can You Take OxyContin While Pregnant?

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on August 16, 2023

Taking OxyContin while pregnant is not a safe form of prescription drug use. You may experience worsening mental health and withdrawal symptoms, while your child may have a higher risk of birth defects and neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

Pregnant women may not take OxyContin without a potential risk for pregnancy complications, problems while breastfeeding, and personal health problems. Heavy OxyContin use during pregnancy can be life-threatening for both pregnant women and their children.

If you are suffering from chronic pain or severe pain while pregnant, you can talk to your Ohio healthcare provider about your pain relief options. Your doctor can help you find pain relievers that can be safer for you and your child.

OxyContin is habit-forming and a common target for drug abuse in Ohio. If you have a substance use disorder caused by and you become pregnant, you can talk to your doctor about quitting OxyContin safely.

Effects Of OxyContin Use On Unborn Babies & Newborns

Oxycodone, the opioid analgesic in OxyContin, can reach an unborn baby through the placenta during pregnancy. 

A pregnant mother who takes OxyContin may expose the developing fetus to potent opioid drugs. If the mother gives birth to a baby in this state, the newborn may experience neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) in the first month of life.

NAS refers to a wide-range of health conditions caused by constant exposure to opioids in the womb. NAS can be severe and even life-threatening in higher doses of opioid use.

Birth Defects & Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

An unborn baby exposed to oxycodone before birth can also contract neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). A newborn with NAS may experience sleep problems, seizures, vomiting, poor breastfeeding habits, and other serious health problems for about one month after birth.

In addition to NAS, pregnant women who take oxycodone can have an increased risk of pregnancy complications, such as:

  • preterm births (giving birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy)
  • problems with fetal development
  • birth defects
  • low birth weight
  • stillbirths

Problems During Nursing

If you are breastfeeding an infant while taking oxycodone, your breast milk may contain oxycodone. Breastfeeding infants who ingest oxycodone can experience opioid withdrawal syndrome, such as respiratory depression, vomiting, diarrhea, and poor feeding habits.

If a nursing infant ingests oxycodone, they may experience opioid withdrawal symptoms, similar to newborn babies with NAS. Infants who ingest oxycodone while breastfeeding may also have a higher risk of respiratory depression, difficulty staying awake, and limpness, which can be fatal.

Effects Of OxyContin Use On Pregnant Women

If you are pregnant, taking opioid medications such as OxyContin can be harmful to your health. During pregnancy you may experience sudden, severe changes in your well-being, which can continue postpartum (after giving birth).

Opioid Overdose

If you take high doses of OxyContin while pregnant, you may have an increased risk of an OxyContin overdose. Side effects of an opioid overdose may include:

  • breathing problems
  • weak pulse
  • blue lips or fingernails
  • clammy skin
  • difficulty staying awake

An opioid overdose can be life-threatening to you and your child. If you see the signs of opioid overdose in yourself or someone you know who is pregnant, call for medical help right away.

Giving naloxone to an opioid overdose victim can stabilize their breathing before professional help arrives. You can get naloxone through Ohio harm reduction programs such as Project DAWN.

Substance Use Disorder

If you cannot stop taking OxyContin, you may have an opioid use disorder (OUD). You may experience physical dependence, worsening mental health, and OxyContin withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit.

Opioid withdrawal symptoms may include anxiety, insomnia, and opioid cravings. Withdrawal symptoms can worsen your well-being, affect your pregnancy, and increase your risk of relapse.

If you have a high risk for severe opioid withdrawal while pregnant, your Ohio doctor may change your doses gradually, or substitute OxyContin for a lower-risk pain reliever. You can talk to your doctor about the approach that works best for you.

Treating Opioid-Related Health Problems For Infants & Mothers

Infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome may be constantly monitored, cared for, and supervised, especially by their mothers. 

If the newborn’s symptoms are severe, medication such as methadone can reduce withdrawal symptoms. Medication given to infants for treatment of NAS will likely be closely monitored. 

Mothers with opioid and acetaminophen-related health problems can receive addiction treatment options such as methadone or buprenorphine. Methadone and buprenorphine can manage your opioid cravings and may not end up in breast milk, unlike oxycodone.

If you have an opioid addiction to oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, codeine, or other prescription opioids, the health of you and your children may be at risk. 

Contact Ohio Recovery Center today to find out if our opioid dependence treatment options work for you, your children, or your loved ones.

  1. American Academy of Pediatrics
  2. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention
  3. Food and Drug Administration
  4. Food and Drug Administration
  5. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus

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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