Oxycodone During Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

by on April 23, 2012


The use of Oxycodone in pregnant women has not been studied but this medication belongs to pregnancy category B, indicating that it is probably safe for use during the first trimester of pregnancy. Women who use oxycodone or OxyContin late in their pregnancy may see withdrawal symptoms in the infant including excessive crying, tremors, fever, vomiting and increased stools. Taking Oxycodone during labor can cause breathing problems in the infant.

Oxycodone does pass through the breast milk. It is difficult to predict how much of the medication will be passed from the infant as this varies from one mother to another. It is best to discuss this medication with your doctor before deciding whether it is a safe method of pain control for you and your baby.

Can Oxycodone be Used by Pregnant Women?

Yes, but only if there are no alternatives and the benefits of the medication outweigh any health risks associated with it. Despite a lack of formal evidence suggesting oxycodone is harmful to pregnant subjects, there is still always a risk in taking medication during pregnancy. If a healthcare provider prescribes this drug to a pregnant woman, that patient should inform the doctor of her pregnancy before beginning the course of medication. Patients who do end up taking oxycodone during pregnancy should be very careful to follow the correct dosage.

Possible Side Effects Of Oxycodone in Pregnant Patients

Although in reproduction studies where the drug was given to rats and rabbits there were no signs of fetal harm, the medication is not guaranteed to be harmless to humans. For example, the use of narcotic analgesics such as oxycodone in the latter stages of pregnancy is associated with the risk of neonatal withdrawal, or neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), which is a withdrawal syndrome that befalls infants.

Furthermore, there have been isolated cases where major birth defects have been observed following exposure to oxycodone during pregnancy.

Oxycodone and Breastfeeding

As oxycodone is excreted into human breast milk, it can potentially cause serious problems in nursing infants. One case of infant death was possibly related to the breastfeeding mother’s use of the drug. Although some experts believe occasional use of oxycodone most likely presents minimal risk to nursing infants, it is best to check with a healthcare provider before using this drug whilst breastfeeding. If a doctor does prescribe the medication to a nursing mother, the patient should look out for any changes in her infant, such as increased drowsiness or difficulty breathing.

Whilst there is no substantial proof of oxycodone harming the unborn fetus, this drug is not necessarily risk-free. Users should still alert their healthcare provider if they get pregnant. By working together and taking all the important factors into account, the patient and healthcare provider can between them decide what is best for mother and unborn child.