Addictions & Mental Health

Algoma Public Health

  • Women, Family Planning and Methadone
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Women, Family Planning and Methadone

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What you need to know

Methadone is a medication used to manage withdrawal from opioid drugs, such as Oxycontin, codeine, morphine and percocet. It replaces the opioid drug you've been using and keeps you from feeling sick. Methadone works by blocking cravings and helps you feel clear-headed and in control of your life.


If you are pregnant and you are still using opioid drugs, call one of the service providers listed to being methadone as soon as possible. There is NO WAIT LIST FOR PREGNANT WOMEN. Methadone use during pregnancy is associated with better prenatal care and nutrition. Methadone helps to prevent withdrawal which could threaten the life of the unborn child.


There are some important things to know if you are currently on methadone treatment.


You can get pregnant more easily

Women who use opioids often don't have periods. When you start taking methadone your periods will likely start up again and your chances of getting pregnant will increase. Use an effective method of birth control. It's best to delay pregnancy until you are ready to give up drugs completely.


Methadone is safe to take during pregnancy

The best way to protect your unborn baby is to take methadone as prescribed by your health care provider and attend regular prenatal appointments. If you have cravings or any withdrawal symptoms, talk to your provider about adjusting your dose. Withdrawal can cause pregnancy complications.


Your baby may have withdrawal symptoms after birth

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) may occur when the baby has been exposed to opioids, including methadone, during pregnancy. The newborn may have difficulty eating and sleeping, may be cranky, or have a fever, vomiting, tremors, or seizures. Hospital staff will keep a close eye on the baby and may provide medication to ease the withdrawal. Your baby's stay in the hospital may be longer than yours.


You will be shown how to provide comfort and care to baby while in the hospital and when the baby comes home.


You can breastfeed if you take methadone

It is safe to breastfeed your baby. Breast milk is the perfect food for babies. Breastfeeding is good for mom's emotional health and helps her feel close to her baby. If you have any questions about breastfeeding or need help, call the Parent Child Information Line at Algoma Public Health.


Support is available

It's not easy to stop using opioids and you may be tempted to start using again. Contact your addiction counsellor, public health nurse, health care provider or other community agency workers for individual or group support. Don't give up.


Community Alcohol Drug Assessment Program (CADAP):

705-942-4646 or 1-866-892-0172


Sexual Health Services:

705-541-7100 or 1-800-726-0398


Parent Child Information Line:


294 Willow Avenue

Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6B 0A9


Date of Creation: Nov 2, 2015

Last Modified: Nov 2, 2015