Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is a group of problems that occur in a newborn who was exposed to addictive illegal or prescription drugs during the mother’s pregnancy. When the child is still in the womb, the drugs pass through the placenta and cause the baby to become addicted to the drug. After birth, the newborn is no longer getting the drug and may have symptoms of withdrawal. 

Symptoms may vary depending on the types of drugs involved. This may include:

  • Blotchy skin coloring
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive crying or high-pitched crying
  • Excessive sucking
  • Fever
  • Hyperactive reflexes
  • Increased muscle tone
  • Irritability
  • Poor feeding
  • Rapid breathing
  • Seizures
  • Sleep problems
  • Slow weight gain
  • Sneezing
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Vomiting

In the diagnosis of NAS, not all of these symptoms may occur or could occur in combination at various degrees. The Covenant Neonatal Intensive Care Unit uses a NAS scoring system called the Finnegan Scale to determine the best treatment and care for your child.

To learn more, download this informational brochure.