Call 413.540.1234 to
schedule an appointment
CONCERN/EAP: 413.534.2625
Billing questions? Call: 413.540.1212
CRISIS: 413.733.6661

Child Development & Parenting: Infants (0-2)
Basic Information
Infant Development: How Your Baby Grows and MaturesInfant Parenting: Keeping Your Baby Healthy and HappyInfant Safety: Keeping Your Baby SafeInfant Enrichment: Stimulating Your Baby
More InformationLatest News
Fetal Growth, Maternal Anger Impact Infant RegulationInfants Know Real 'Baby Talk' When They Hear ItOpioid Crisis Means More Newborns With Hepatitis C, But Few Get TestedCCHD Newborn Screening May Detect Other DiseasesHealth Tip: Prevent Hand, Foot and Mouth DiseaseMultiple Anesthesia Exposures Affect Learning and AttentionHealth Tip: Milestones to Look for by Age 5Anesthesia Doesn't Seem to Harm Child's IQ: StudyHealth Tip: Prevent Poisoning at HomeHeath Tip; How to Introduce Your Child to PeanutsHealth Tip: When to See a Doctor for Cradle CapZika Infection After Birth May Require Long-Term Follow-UpRear-Facing Car Seats Protect Tots in Crashes From Behind: StudyBabies Given Certain Meds May Have Higher Odds for Allergies LaterHealth Tip: Which Car Seat Should Your Child Use?Baby Sitters, Relatives Often Unaware of SIDS RiskReading With Your Toddler Boosts More Than Just Language SkillsHealth Tip: Treat Diarrhea in Young BabiesNew Moms Still Wary of Exposing Infants to PeanutsHealth Tip: Use a High Chair SafelyPoison Prevention at HomeGenetic Heart Defects Rarely the Cause of SIDS, Research ShowsVaccine Exposure in First 23 Months Has No Adverse ImpactMechanical Heart Valve Approved for NewbornsMom's Immune System May Affect Baby's BrainVaccines Don't Weaken Babies' Immune Systems: StudyHealth Tip: Prevent Tooth Decay in BabiesPointers for Easier Potty TrainingHealth Tip: Make Sure Babies Eat RightGut Microbiota May Affect Vertical Transmission of Being OverweightHealth Tip: Protect Baby from Whooping CoughMany Parents in the Dark on When Kids Should First See a DentistStroke May Not Mean Language Loss for NewbornsCause of Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths Shifts in the U.S.Babies Face Higher SIDS Risk in Certain StatesNICU Family Integrated Care Ups Infant, Parent OutcomesBabies With Normal Head Size Might Still Have Zika-Linked Brain DamageZika Tied to Rise in U.S. Birth Defects: CDCNutrients in Child's First 1,000 Days Key for NeurodevelopmentOpioid Epidemic Also Taking Toll on BabiesHome Visit Program Can Help Prevent Toddler ObesityHealth Tip: Succeed in Toilet TrainingNeurodevelopment Not Impacted by Glucocorticoids in PreemiesToo Many Babies Still Die Needlessly of SIDS, CDC Says16 Percent of Infants Receive Complementary Foods Too Early2013 to 2015 Infant Mortality Rate Varied by State and RaceHealth Tip: Health Tip: Prepare Your Child for the DentistMost U.S. Babies Start Solid Foods Too SoonSpecial Baby Formula Doesn't Seem to Prevent Type 1 DiabetesHealth Tip: Ways to Bond With Baby
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Child & Adolescent Development: Overview
Childhood Mental Disorders and Illnesses
Child Development & Parenting: Early (3-7)
Child Development & Parenting: Middle (8-11)

Opioid Epidemic Also Taking Toll on Babies

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Jan 22nd 2018

new article illustration

MONDAY, Jan. 22, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- In yet another example of how far-reaching the fallout from America's opioid epidemic is, researchers report that babies exposed to these narcotics while in the womb run the risk of certain head and neck abnormalities.

One is a twisting of the neck (torticollis) and the other is a flattening of the head (plagiocephaly), which often occurs in tandem with torticollis.

In the study, doctors at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center looked at 783 infants born over five years, and found that 87 (11 percent) of those exposed to opioids in the womb were diagnosed with torticollis.

In 1994, the rate of torticollis in the general population was 0.3 percent to 1.9 percent, the study authors noted.

"Awareness of these potential issues in this population is essential, as torticollis may not develop for several months after the infant has been discharged from the hospital," said study author Dr. Jenny McAllister.

Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is triggered by withdrawal after exposure to opioids in the womb. The incidence of NAS rose almost fivefold between 2000 and 2012.

"If preventive measures are performed -- such as occupational and physical therapy -- torticollis and plagiocephaly may be avoided and potentially prevent developmental delays," McAllister added.

It's not known if opioid exposure in the womb actually causes torticollis. These infants could have a tightness of their muscles (hypertonia) that predisposes them to torticollis, or the condition could be the result of swaddling that is done to keep them calm after birth, McAllister explained.

Of the infants in the study, almost 76 percent were exposed to short-acting opioids, while just over 72 percent were exposed to multiple opioids. Infants in withdrawal were mostly treated with methadone, but 18 percent were treated with buprenorphine and close to 6 percent with morphine. Their time in the hospital averaged about 19 days.

McAllister is a physician at Cincinnati Children's and co-director of the Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Long-Term Follow-Up Clinic.

The study was published online Jan. 22 in The Journal of Pediatrics.

America's opioid epidemic is now so widespread that research suggests deaths from opioid overdoses may be the main driver of a drop in overall U.S. life expectancy.

More information

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has more on infant torticollis.