Well, now it's creating an unexpected consequence.
New research today shows a rapid rise in the number of expecting mothers who take prescription pain medication, drugs like Oxycodone and Vicodin. That means more babies are now being born with signs of drug withdrawal, a condition called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.
"Common symptoms that babies exhibit after they're born are irritability, difficulty feeding, difficulty breathing," said Dr. Stephen Patrick.
The same thing occurs when mothers take illegal drugs like heroin. Researchers from the University of Michigan health system looked at national data over the last decade.
"What we found was that from 2000 to 2009 the number of babies having drug withdrawal increased by three times," adds Dr. Patrick.
Those babies had more medical problems, more complicated and more expensive hospital stays.
The researchers say the study shows the importance of identifying mothers using pain medication early in pregnancy and treating the newborn babies as fast as possible.
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