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Magee Will Have Moms Stay With Opioid-Addicted Babies

Sarah Schneider
90.5 WESA
A volunteer "cuddler" cradles an opioid-addicted baby at Magee-Women's Hospital in Oakland in 2016.

A Pittsburgh hospital is opening a unit for that will allow new mothers to stay with their opioid-addicted infants.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Magee-Womens Hospital says the unit will initially consist of six rooms.

Treatment plans typically separate the mother and baby after birth. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports the new unit at Magee-Womens Hospital will have moms room with their babies while the child gets medical help and the woman is trained to care for herself and the baby.

Elizabeth Krans of Magee-Womens Research Institute says she hopes the arrangement will improve bonds between mother and child. She says it might also save lives, as the hospital has seen overdose deaths spike postpartum.

About 7 percent of the 10,000 children born at Magee each year experience symptoms of opioid withdrawal.