Opiate use during pregnancy has been an increasing problem over the last two decades, making it an important social and health concern. The use of such substances may have serious negative outcomes in the newborn, and clinical and cognitive conditions have been reported, including neonatal abstinence syndrome, developmental problems, and lower cognitive performance. These conditions are common when opiates are used during pregnancy, making the prescription of these kinds of drugs problematic. Moreover, the mother may develop opiate addiction, thus, increasing the likelihood of the infant being born with any of those conditions. This paper reviews the use of opiates during pregnancy and focuses mainly on the neonatal abstinence syndrome. First, the commonly prescribed opiates will be identified, namely those usually involved in cases of addiction and/or neonatal abstinence syndrome. Second, published approaches to deal with those problems will be presented and discussed, including the treatment of both the mother and the infant. Finally, we will outline the treatments that are safest and most efficient, and will define future goals, approaches, and research directions for the scientific community regarding this problem.
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