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Born for Recovery: The Effects of Maternal Methadone Use on Neonates

Co Authors:

Emily M. Nullet
School of Nursing
Quinnipiac University

Marissa L. Hayes
School of Nursing
Quinnipiac University

Rebecca M. Cordani
School of Nursing
Quinnipiac University

Jessalyn A. Myers
School of Nursing
Quinnipiac University

Carol R. Connery
School of Nursing
Quinnipiac University


This interrupted case study presents the story of "Jane Paul," a 27-year-old pregnant woman excited by the prospect of bringing a new life into the world. Jane had been using heroin for the past seven years, but when she learns she is pregnant, she goes to a local clinic where she is prescribed methadone to treat her addiction. After seven months of treatment, Jane delivers successfully and her baby girl is admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). In the NICU, the baby experiences mild symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and is treated medically, but overall is stable. After nine days of treatment, monitoring, and social service involvement in the care, the baby is discharged to the grandmother's home. This case study allows nursing students to explore the nursing assessment and interventions for a maternal-child situation with the added consideration of maternal methadone use.

  • Discuss the difference in caring for a patient with a history of addiction and the psychosocial effects associated with this diagnosis.
  • Identify and verbalize understanding of the stressors associated with drug dependence during pregnancy.
  • Verbalize understanding of health promotion following delivery and the postpartum period.
  • Identify NAS symptoms and how to manage care based on the particular symptoms being shown.
  • Deliberate about nursing assessments, care, and evaluations to be provided for an infant with neonatal abstinence syndrome.
  • Distinguish between the differences in symptomatology and treatment for a newborn presenting with neonatal abstinence syndrome versus a normal newborn.
  • Discuss administration and patient teachings associated with methadone use and identify additional resources necessary for this patient population.
Keywords: Methadone; neonatal abstinence syndrome; NAS; neonatal intensive care; NICU; neonate; maternity; post-partum; addiction
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: Undergraduate upper division, Graduate, Professional (degree program)
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Directed, Interrupted
Language: English
Subject Headings: Nursing   Pharmacy / Pharmacology   Developmental Biology   Toxicology   Medicine (General)  
Date Posted: 5/19/2015
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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