Methadone maintenance program in pregnancy in a Swiss perinatal center (II): neonatal outcome and social resources

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2005 Feb;84(2):145-50. doi: 10.1111/j.0001-6349.2005.00510.x.


Background: The aim of the study was to analyze the neonatal impact of a methadone maintenance program in pregnancy, and the social resources of the families involved.

Methods: Descriptive analysis of neonatal data in live births after 24 weeks of gestation in pregnant women enrolled in a methadone maintenance program. The data of 86 babies were analyzed.

Results: Median gestational age was 38 (0)/(7) (31-41) weeks; 21 babies (24%) were premature. Median birthweight was 2662 (1340-4050) g; 27% of babies were growth retarded (<3rd centile), and 13% had microcephaly (<3rd centile). Sixty-two percent developed abstinence syndrome requiring pharmacological treatment for a median 47 days. Child Protective Services (CPS) were involved in 56% of cases, and 42% of newborns required placement outside the mother's home.

Conclusions: Babies born to women on methadone had a fourfold higher incidence of prematurity, a ninefold higher incidence of intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR), and a fourfold higher incidence of microcephaly compared with the normal population. Sixty-two percent required pharmacological treatment for abstinence syndrome and 42% required placement.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / chemically induced*
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Male
  • Maternal Health Services / organization & administration
  • Methadone / therapeutic use*
  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Perinatal Care / organization & administration*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / chemically induced
  • Pregnancy Complications / drug therapy*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Program Evaluation
  • Registries
  • Risk Assessment
  • Switzerland / epidemiology


  • Methadone