Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) treatment in Virginia

At HCA Virginia hospitals, we provide comprehensive treatment for maternal addiction and infant withdrawal syndrome. To do this, we ensure expectant mothers receive the medical care and support services they deserve to overcome substance abuse.

For more information about our primary care services or for help finding a doctor, call our free, 24/7 Consult-A-Nurse line.

Why choose our maternal addiction programs

Quitting substance abuse early in your pregnancy reduces your baby’s exposure and risk of addiction and withdrawal symptoms. We offer compassionate care and comprehensive services to help both you and your baby. These include:

  • Leading high-risk pregnancy care—Our maternal-fetal medicine doctors (perinatologists) deliver high-risk pregnancy care to carefully monitor you and your baby during pregnancy and prevent and/or any treat conditions that may arise.
  • Intense, focused treatment—Our unique day treatment model allows you to receive medical care, individual counseling and peer support tailored to your individual needs.
  • Long-term, comprehensive support—You have access to an entire team of medical professionals and substance abuse experts throughout your pregnancy and after your child is born.
  • Expert neonatal intensive care—We care for ill and premature newborns in our hospitals' neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Our NICUs feature advanced equipment, and our highly skilled neonatal doctors and nurses deliver family-centered care for your baby.

What is NAS?

NAS refers to one of the conditions babies may experience when they go through drug or alcohol withdrawal. Women who take drugs during pregnancy may give birth to babies who are addicted to those same drugs.

When the umbilical cord is cut after birth, the baby’s supply of the substance is cut off. When this occurs, your baby may begin to show challenging withdrawal symptoms anywhere from 24 hours to seven days after birth, also called neonatal withdrawal syndrome.

NAS symptoms

Babies exposed to drugs and alcohol may experience complications in the womb and after birth. NAS affects each child differently once he or she is born. Factors include the type of drug used, how frequently it was used, the last time it was used and whether the baby was born full term.

Common symptoms of NAS include:

  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive crying
  • High-pitched crying
  • Inability to suck or feed
  • Seizures
  • Sleep problems
  • Tight muscle tone
  • Tremors
  • Unstable body temperature
  • Vomiting

Drugs associated with NAS

Most cases of NAS are linked to drugs called opioids, although symptoms are also linked to other prescription medications, alcohol, nicotine and street drugs.

Talk to your doctor right away if you are pregnant and using any of the following:

  • Antidepressants
  • Codeine
  • Heroin
  • Hydrocodone
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Sleeping pills, a class of drugs called benzodiazepines
  • Tramadol

NAS support programs

Our NAS support programs take place at Chippenham Hospital and Henrico Doctors' Hospital. Here, our teams understand that it takes continued support and resources to successfully overcome substance abuse. This is why we offer the medical and behavioral health services you need to get well. We’ll also connect you with the resources you need to proudly and confidently maintain sobriety as a new mom.

Our programs offers:

  • Birth planning, including getting ready for labor and delivery and preparing for any immediate medical care your baby may need
  • Continued care throughout your postpartum recovery
  • Daily progress meetings with you and our staff to identify areas of concern and discuss your goals
  • Goal setting and treatment planning
  • Family meetings designed to help you create a healthy support system
  • Introduction to other local recovery resources, including 12-step programs
  • Medication management
  • Ongoing obstetric care to monitor your baby’s growth and development
  • Psychiatric evaluations and care
  • Safe, physician-guided detox
  • Self-directed assignments focused on self-discovery, behavior insights and preventing relapse
  • Structured group therapy sessions with other pregnant moms