October 1973

Methadone Maintenance During Pregnancy

Author Affiliations

Departments of Pediatrics and Pharmacology New York University School of Medicine, and Department of Pediatrics Bellevue Hospital New York 10016

Am J Dis Child. 1973;126(4):445-446. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1973.02110190375002

Early experience with a methadone maintenance program for pregnant addicts indicated that many of the women who were enrolled were able to stablize their life-styles, to receive regular prenatal care, to make homes for their infants, and to make regular follow-up visits for their children's care after discharge from the hospital.1 This favorable report encouraged many governmental and private institutions to treat pregnant women in methadone maintenance programs, established to reduce the antisocial and self-destructive behavior so common among young addicts. However, despite the widespread use of methadone by pregnant women for the past few years, its effects upon the fetus and the newborn infant are still the subject of controversy, since they have not been investigated thoroughly.

The first report of methadone maintenance during pregnancy stated that "there was no significant evidence of withdrawal syndrome" among eight liveborn infants,2 but subsequent experience has established that this form

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