There has been increasing emphasis on the importance of the development of self-regulatory capacities of the individual as the cornerstone of development. The caregivers' abilities to manage their own attention, emotions, physiology and behaviors influence the development of the child's self-regulatory and interactive capacities, and thereby their overall development. Newborns prenatally exposed to psychoactive substances and/or to other prenatal stressors such as maternal poor nutrition, increased maternal stress, trauma, difficult and/or impoverished environments, in tandem with genetic predispositions, can result in alterations to their neurodevelopment that predispose them to self-regulatory problems that can be expressed at any stage of life. The care of infants with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)/Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome (NOWS) and their mother/caregiver is a window of opportunity to assess the regulatory and co-regulatory capacities of both, and to provide holistic interventions with the goal of empowering the mother/caregiver in their own self-knowledge/self-regulation capacities and their crucial role in promoting the healthy development of their children. Non-pharmacologic care for the infant with NAS/NOWS is the first line of treatment and of paramount importance. Yet, current approaches are based on a limited scope of infant functioning, and the scoring systems in current use do not result in individualized and specific non-pharmacologic care of the infant, which can result in excessive or insufficient medication and a lack of caregiver appreciation for the infant's strengths, difficulties and early development. The interventions described here are based on the infant's signs of dysregulation in four neurobehavioral subsystems that can be dysregulated by NAS/NOWS, the infant's adaptive or maladaptive responses to return to a regulated functioning, and the co-regulatory behaviors of the infant and the mother/caregiver. In Part I of this two-part series on re-conceptualizing non-pharmacologic care for NAS/NOWS we laid the foundation for a new treatment approach, one grounded in developmental theory and evidence-based observations of infant and interpersonal neurobiology. Here, in Part II, we outline actionable, individually tailored evaluations and approaches to non-pharmacologic NAS/NOWS treatment based on strategies to support the regulatory capacities and development of 4 key domains: 1) autonomic; 2) motor/tone; 3) sleep/awake state control; and 4) sensory modulation subsystems.
- Maternal opioid use disorder
- Neonatal abstinence syndrome
- Neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome
- Non-pharmacologic care
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience