PARENTS
08/09/2018 15:02 EDT | Updated 08/09/2018 15:03 EDT

Maryland Mom Elizabeth Eden Fails Drug Test After Eating Poppyseed Bagel

It's a real thing.

Anyone who's barfed that day's lunch into a nurse-held kidney dish in between contractions has regretted what they ate the day they gave birth.

WHY did we have to crave McNuggets right before our water broke? WHY?

But a new mom in Maryland who failed a drug test because she ate a poppyseed bagel the morning she gave birth faced more serious consequences for her breakfast choice. Elizabeth Eden's newborn daughter, Beatrice, was held at the hospital for five days and Eden was assigned a case worker for a home checkup as a result of the ordeal.

"It was traumatizing," Eden told WBAL TV 11 on Wednesday.

"I was in labour. I was sitting in the bed. I was having contractions. I was on a Pitocin drip, and the doctor came in and said, 'You've tested positive for opiates,'" Eden said.

"I said, 'Well, can you test me again? And I ate a poppyseed bagel this morning for breakfast,' and she said, 'No, you've been reported to the state.'"

Is the poppyseed defence legit?

False positives on drug tests due to poppyseed consumption are a real phenomenon and not just something we all chuckled at when Elaine tested positive for opium after eating a poppyseed muffin in an episode of "Seinfeld."

Two moms in the U.S. have sued their hospitals because they failed drug tests and had their newborns taken away after eating food containing poppyseeds, according to the Washington Post. Both cases settled — one for US$143,500 and the other for US$160,000.

In 1998, the U.S. government had to revise its policies on workplace drug testing because of the likelihood that a poppyseed bagel would cause a false positive, the Washington Post noted. The cutoff level of morphine in urine was raised from 300 nanograms per millilitre to 2,000, but some hospitals — including the one where Eden gave birth — still use the lower cutoff, the Washington Post explained.

Eden's case worker quickly realized her explanation for the positive drug test was legitimate and closed the file, WBAL TV 11 reported.

FatCamera via Getty Images

And it's not just poppyseeds that can cause false positives. In 2013, a Montreal mom tested positive for methamphetamines and opiates because of the prescription acid reflux medication she was taking, according to the Montreal Gazette.

Isabel Villeneuve's newborn was put in the care of a foster family, and returned to her a week later under the condition that she and her partner live with his parents.

Opioid exposure causes serious health problems in babies

While false positives are traumatizing for the families involved, opioid exposure is a serious problem in babies. About 1,850 newborns in Canada were born exposed to addictive drugs in 2016-2017, a 27 per cent increase from 2012-2013, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

And 50 to 75 per cent of infants born to women on opioids will need treatment for withdrawal, according to the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS). The symptoms include trembling, crying, tight muscle tone, and seizures, while other issues such as irritability, sleep disorders, and feeding problems can persist until the baby is six months old, CPS said.

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