Friday, May 26, 2006

Specialized Care for Expectant Mothers on Methadone (NENAMA-MOM) (Join Together, March 13, 2006)

Specialized Care for Expectant Mothers on Methadone
Join Together
March 13, 2006

The Mothers on Methadone (MOM) Program at Kent Hospital in Warwick, Rhode Island dispels the stigma facing pregnant and postpartum women in methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) by providing them and their newborns with specialized education, support services and follow-up care, the Addiction Treatment Forum reported in its Winter 2006 issue.

Prior to delivery, pregnant women in the MOM Program receive specialized addiction counseling, prenatal education classes and assistance meeting healthcare needs. Specially trained staff provide support and explanations after the delivery to help new mothers deal with the infant's treatment for opioid withdrawal, or neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), which lasts 23 days on average. Phone consultations and referrals to community-based services continue after the mothers are discharged.

The MOM Program was begun in July 2005 by Sharon Dembinski, a pediatric nurse practitioner, certified methadone advocate and mother of five who first learned about addiction through her son's dependence on heroin. Dembinski is also the founder of the first chapter of the National Alliance of Methadone Advocates (NAMA) specifically for mothers on methadone, called the New England NAMA-MOM chapter.

"So far, the Moms who've delivered are doing quite well, with the majority remaining in MMT and relapse-free," said Dembinski. She hopes that her program can serve as a national model and as proof that adequate methadone doses during pregnancy are essential to the health of mothers and their infants.

Join Together, March 13, 2006

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