What You Should Know Concerning Taking Kratom When Pregnant
There have been reports of infants born with opioid withdrawal symptoms after their mums took Kratom during pregnancy in the recent past. These reports have generated a lot of concern about the herb. In 2017, Praveen Chandrasekharan, a pediatrician at the University of Buffalo, treated a newborn girl admitted at John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, NY. The infant had stiff muscles, was jittery, cried excessively, and sneezed a lot. These are the symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome, which is the withdrawal of drugs that the baby was exposed to in the womb. However, the baby’s urine tested negative when screened for opioids.
The 29-year-old mum told the physicians that she had been taking Kratom in capsule form to reduce back pain during pregnancy. Praveen treated the baby as they would treat a baby with neonatal opioid withdrawal because Kratom has opioid effects. He prescribed morphine therapy in progressively reducing doses, and it proved effective. The mum and baby were discharged from the hospital after two weeks.
According to the Scientist, four case studies similar to the aforementioned ones were reported. The case reports of babies with opioid withdrawal symptoms raise questions about the safety of using Kratom during pregnancy. More research is required to find answers to these questions.
The FDA developed a test known as the Public Health Assessment via Structural Evaluation methodology. It revealed that 22 of the 25 most predominant compounds in Kratom could bind to opioid receptors, which confirms that Kratom works as an opioid.
Being cautious with Kratom is also essential because some Kratom products are impure. According to an article on Reuters.com, the US Food and Drug Administration has found that some Kratom products contain traces of heavy metals such as lead and nickel. In addition, the supplements can be adulterated with opioid analgesics like hydrocodone.
The other reason for caution with Kratom during pregnancy is that its components might have several mechanisms of action, and their effects can differ based on the dose. The effects of Kratom vary depending on the strain and the dose.
If you have been taking Kratom and become expectant, inform your doctor as soon as you can. You need to wean off Kratom slowly because it can cause withdrawal symptoms if you stop it abruptly. The physical symptoms linked with Kratom withdrawal include:
- Decreased appetite
- Hot flashes
- Abdominal pain
- Watery nose and eyes
The psychological withdrawal symptoms of Kratom withdrawal include:
- Intense cravings
Researchers have not studied the effects of Kratom on unborn babies widely. They do not know if Kratom can cause any birth defects. Due to the lack of this research, it is not advisable for expectant women to use the herb. According to this site, some research shows that using opioids during pregnancy is potentially dangerous for both the expectant woman and fetus. The longer-term abuse or use of opioids can cause physical dependence or addiction in some cases. The effects that can happen in a fetus or infant if a mother used opioids during pregnancy include:
- Excessive fluid in the infant’s brain
- Congenital heart effects
- A hole in the abdominal wall
- Spina Bifida
- The way Kratom works in pregnant bodies
The exact mechanism of action of Kratom in the bodies of expectant women is not definite. It is too vague to comprehend. Kratom leaves contain over 40 distinct active alkaloids. Every strain and sub-colored vein (Green, White, and Red) feature varying ratios of the alkaloids. Thus, it is tricky to find answers about the effect of each strain on one’s body because it boils down to the concentration of alkaloids and their interplay with the receptors in the brain. The two main and most abundant compounds are Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitraginine, which are well-known for their partial agonist activity.
At higher doses, Mitragynine activates the mu-opioid brain receptors to produce sedation, analgesia, and sensory-suppressive impact. At lower doses, it interacts with other receptors to promote stimulation, euphoria, and energetic feelings.
Kratom’s impact during pregnancy
During pregnancy, many women experience symptoms like discomfort, reduced energy levels, uneasiness, and unbearable stress. It is, therefore not a wonder that expecting mums resort to using Kratom supplements for the purpose of easing the symptoms. If you take Kratom during pregnancy, you can expect to experience the following effects:
- Mood elevation and stimulation
According to this site, Kratom can stimulate and elevate your mood. A small dose of about 1 to 4 grams can provide you with a sudden burst of motivation and energy. It can also enhance your concentration levels and sociability. You can feel these effects within five to ten minutes of ingesting it, and it lasts for sixty to ninety hours.
- Analgesia and Sedation
At higher doses, Kratom reduces discomfort and initiates a euphoric high. The most suitable quantity to unnerve and unwind is 5 to 7 grams. However, if you are pregnant, you should take a lower dose. For a detailed dosage guide, click here.
- Energy and relaxation
If you want to achieve a middle road, you should take a moderate dose. Three to four grams can help you to control your mindfulness and stability.
The risks involved
The extent of harm, benefits, and safety that Kratom exposure ensures when one is expectant is not clear. Yet, we know that just like substances that are not safe during pregnancy, this also applies to Kratom. There is substantial anecdotal research that highlights the potential harm linked with using substances when pregnant. In addition, unless the mother used multiple medicines during pregnancy, conventional urine toxicology screens would come out normal. Since Kratom does not appear on toxicology screens, taking a medical history carefully is vital. Toxicology exams for Kratom do not exist. The rising number of reports of neonatal withdrawal syndrome after babies are exposed to maternal Kratom makes it critical for healthcare workers to be aware of the condition. The following are the possible effects of taking Kratom.
On the baby
The available evidence and reports typically show that infants who withdraw after getting exposed to maternal Kratom use exhibit clinical signs linked with opiate withdrawal such as:
- Reduced appetite
- Excessive crying
- Constant sneezing
The complications above necessitate immediate treatment and can last for several days, weeks on the entire lifespan of an affected baby.
On the mum
If a pregnant woman consumes a large dose of Kratom, she can experience the following reactions.
- Appetite suppression
- Loss of consciousness
- Pupillary constriction
Like the other aspects of Kratom, its effect during pregnancy is complex, largely unsearched, and controversial. The significant amount of information online is overwhelming and dangerously misleading at times. For that reason, herbalists, researchers, scientists, and the medical community around the world have collaborated, trying to probe the matter further and obtain better insights as well as an understanding of the way Kratom impacts the bodies of pregnant women.