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Pregnancy and Narcotic Pain Killers

Jan 21, 2008 - 25 comments

From experience I can tell you that if you are off for at least 4 weeks, your baby will not be born addicted.  IF the baby does happen to be born addicted, they can tell right away and you could be in trouble but IF you are honest about your usgae, you will most likely be ok.
You don't want your baby to go through withdrawals.  Although they can easily treat the withdrawals in newborns you don't want to have to medicate your child as soon as they come into the world.  Babies who are suffering from withdrawls have trouble eating, sleeping and they have a poor sucking reflex.  It's not pretty as they cry excessively.
I was prescribed pain killers throughout my pregnancy and waened down VERY SLOWLY with the help of my ob/gyn.  I had a beautiful, healthy, perfect little girl who continues to thrive and become smarter and smarter by the minute.
I just want to stress to all the pregnant women out there who are using for whatever reason be it legal or not, that you cannot and SHOULD NOT go cold turkey under any circumstances.  It puts the mother's body into shock no matter what your usage is and can cause pre term labor and/or miscarriage.
If you are early ini your pregnancy, be honest with your dr and allow him/her to wean you VERY slowly.  The drugs that normally would be prescribed to anyone coming off of opiates (valium, xanax, klonopin etc.) are EXTREMELY UNSAFE at any time during your pregnancy.  They are all a category X and can and most likely will cause defects or brain activity reduction.  So you need to make sure that when you wean that you do it slowly and carefully so that your body does not go through too much stress.  It is way better for the mother to be comfortable during this process than it is to go through it quickly.        
If you are later on in your pregnancy, again I stress to be honest with your dr.  They can and should help you and if you are honest there is less chance of you getting into trouble and having your baby taken away.
If you are so late into your pregnancy that stopping isn't an option, take as little as possible, pray and talk to your dr.  Hopefully, it won't be an issue.
I do need to say though that although the pregnancy is obviously important, you need to have some sort of a plan for after the baby is born.  Even if you're being prescribed the drugs like I was, you are still addicted an no baby deserves to have an addicted mother.  You will need to be on the ball with all of the sleepless nights and crying ahead of you.  SO please, talk to a dr., get on suboxone, go to counseling or meetings but whatever you do, get a hold of this problem because you never gets those years beck and you don't want to be in a fog for the best and most important months of the beautiful babies life where you should be spending your time gazing into their eyes and watching them sleep at night for hours at a time.
May God bless you all and may you all have healthy and happy babies who have a sober and clear headed mother.
Please PM me if you have any questions.


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by BlotOutTheSun, Jan 21, 2008
glad you posted this it is very informative to woman that are in the situation, im sure this will help alot, thanx alot

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by amy1439, May 05, 2008
thank you ive been wondering alot of things but afraid to ask still scared to talk to my dr though

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by amberddd, May 07, 2008
I'm glad I ran across this post. I am really scared because my baby is due in a week and yesterday I ran out of my pain medicince and when I asked my doctor for more today he said I couldn't have any and he thought that I was onlyl taking it once or twice a week. And I said to him I told you along time ago I have been taking the same medication for the last three years do to my medical problems from two car accidents. So now he's saying they might move my c-section up and telling me I am going to go through all kinds of withdrawls that I knew and know nothing about im so confused and upset and worried about my baby's health that I don't know what to do. I don't know if I can handle the withdrawls on top of the everyday pain that I took my medicine for. If anyone has any positive advice it would be appreciated. Thanks so much

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by StacyCPHT, Jun 16, 2008
I have been on oxycodone for 3 + years for aggravated (and aggravating) rheumatoid arthritis... I second the poster, I have a team of the tops from Baptist Medical Center and Wake Forest School of medicine and the consensus is that the 50mg (10 every 4 hrs) of oxycodone ^^^NOT OXYCONTIN> is perfectly safe and if we begin dosing down at 36 weeks there will be no issue of addiction for the baby. My doctors in fact as a result of my sweet little angel kicking a disc out in my back increased my medicine because the pain was driving blood pressure up and that is RISKY. So all of you out there, if it's prescribed ... listen to your doctor and your body. Only you know how you feel and whether or not you can take the pain. If or rather when it comes time to let the life preserver (my nickname for my meds) or crutch or what ever go do it gently and YES DO EXPECT COMPASSION HELP AND ALTERNATIVES! Ask your doctor about acupuncture, massage therapy, and other things you can do.  HOWEVER.... IF the meds are NOT PRESCRIBED, tell your doctor honestly what is up. Explain that you HURT and where and why, allow them to help you. Before my diagnosis I TOO took unprescribed meds. NOT A JUNKIE but in pain that made me not even want to live and left me on occasion in the floor screaming. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO LIVE LIKE THAT. I started by telling my doctor and they found out WHY i hurt and cared HOW they could help. 2 joint stabilization later and a platonic love affair with my massage therapist (it's only physical, i love her for her hands :)  ) I AM WELL AND YOU DESERVE THAT TOO. If your are taking narcotic pain meds there is additional monitoring that must be done to make sure the baby has enough fluid and is growing at the right rate. RIGHT NOW you go to the doctor constantly anyhoo.... SO let them make you a healthier preggie and make you a MOMMY who has a doc's support and CAN hold and rock their baby COMFORTABLY.  With love and prayers, Stace (and Elijah coming OCT 08! )

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by pan12, Jan 08, 2009
I am a 36 year old and am 11 weeks pregnant.  This will make our thrid child, the youngest of whom is now ten.  My husband and I are happy to be pregnant but due to my age, high pulse rate (sinus tachnachardia ((if I spelled correctly)), and pain issues, we are also hampered with concern.  Not only do I have to take a medication for the high pulse rate called Lopressor (very low dose, 25 mg in the am), I am concerned that I take hydrocodone three times a day for two compression fractures (between L4-L5 & L1-L2) and spinal stenosis in the same areas.  I was taking oxycodone but have since reduced it to the lower level hydrocodone and it seems to be ok, but I am worried about the risks to our unborn child  The OB team wants me to be evaluated by another pain specalist to look for other alternatives.  Has anyone out there found out anything that could be of help or advise if you have been in the same boat?  I am very desperate to have some information from anyone who has been there; had a child after taking meds during their pregnancy and what the outcome was; or have found alternatives that work.  I have been on pain meds for this condidtion for years and have been advised by neurosurgery that; aside from surgery, nothing can help other than perhaps facet injections for a temp fix but no guarentee that they will work.  Anyone had these injefctions?  During pregancy?  Please advise.........Thanks

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by Tam1977, Feb 09, 2009
Hi, First I want to thank all of you for this info, I too am completely desperate at the moment I am 37 wks and have been taking hydrocodone for a long time for a severe hand/wrist injury where I severed tendons nerves and bone, 2 surgeries later the last about two months ago from which I had 3 more bones removed from my wrist I am still taking them and have also recently been taking my Mom's oxycontin (which I am now no longer taking) and perkocet to supplement the vicodin as my hand surgeon won't prescribe me any more because of being pregnant. I know this is terrible and I hate myself for it. I have been trying to stop but scared to completely from all I have read and also the withdrawals are absolute murder. My OB knows about the hydro but not the others and she recently ran a drug screen and guess what showed up, the oxycodone, I told her I had only taken the perkocet once as I am/was afraid that if I told her everything than they might take my baby away when he is born. From the first post I read I am now thinking maybe I should tell her the truth but I am also afraid that if I do my Mom will get in trouble for giving them to me as well as all the other repercussions. I am currently trying to wean myself off of the perkocet now and back to just the hydro but I don't have many of those left. PLEASE someone tell me what I should do! I have my next Ob appt. the 13th and want to come up with a solution before then.
Thankyou in advance and best of luch and wishes to all in these difficult situations

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by Supermom23, Feb 27, 2010
I am 18 weeks pregnant and in severe pain. I take hydrocodone for pain, I have been taking it for almost 3 years, I am not prescribed. I am not addicted, just in alot of pain, I take a low amount. I was wondering if since I'm pregnant, if my doctor would prescribe it, so I have a prescription, and my baby won't get taken away. Does anybody know?

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by ppotter3, Mar 19, 2010
Dear PAN12,
It was a smart move changing to the hydrocodone (Vicoden), since that will help you be able to still get relief but in a manor that is less addictive and safer to you (and your baby). I have had medical training (R.N) but decided it wasn't for me. Also, since my parents were both doctors, all I ever heard was things about medicine all day long. I advise that you PLEASE KEEP IN TOUCH WITH YOUR DOC (which you probably are doing and you sound very intelligent and are in touch with the facts). Its very important, and make sure not to exceed 2.0 GRAMS (they advise not to exceed 4.0 GRAMS but being pregnant and with the new study information conducted.) So, if you are taking a 5/500 or 10/500 (which ever it may be) have the doc drop the Tylenol (acetaminophen) to 250mg (5/250 or 10/250, or what they say), and you will still get the same amount of narcotic but less of the affect of the Tylenol. Although,  the acetaminophen helps some, its better to be safe than sorry. Also, when in the later stages of pregnancy (MOST DOCTORS WONT TELL YOU RIGHT OF THE BAT OR DIRECTLY, DUE TO THE MISINTERPRETATION OF THE ADVISE) it is harder for the fetus to absorb the opiates (or synthetic opiates, such as Vicoden (hydrocodone)) through the placental membrane; this is also why they give you numerous option of narcotic pain relief, epidural, spinal or combo therapy during the birthing process (labor). Since the placental tissue was designed this way it makes it a lot safer for the baby, since they can't adsorb opiates as easy as other stuff. Now, I am not saying to go out and use I.V heroin, but I am just letting you know that it is safe (since the baby doesn't absorb it as easy as other stuff); especially if you really need it. Any unnecessary stress to the mother (with pain) will stress the baby as well. If the pain is horrible, the mothers B.P (blood pressure) could (not always) spike and affect baby, or even result in preeclampsia (Most common at 37 weeks, rarely during pregnancy, but possible) which can be deadly to both mother an baby.

Take care and remember to discuss your pain management for when you deliver, and make sure that if you have any worries to ask you OB or doc. They will give you many options during labor and make sure you are have a comfortable enough labor to enjoy seeing your child being born.


Best of luck and God bless,


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by ppotter3, Mar 19, 2010
TAM1977, If you are worried, like I said about to PAN12 about the opiates not being absorbed as easy to fetus. But you need to make sure you are carefull and don't take too much or have too much acetomenephine. If you want to completely stop the narcotics make sure you talk to a doctor that you trust (and from expierience, most doctors once a person tells them about any use regardless of legality, they assume your an adict. This is unfortuanly but they do this to make sure they don't get thier licens revoked.) If you have a doctor that you are comfortable with then you should explain to them about you self-medicating (which is understandable alot of people are scared or intimidated with the doctors outcome they seek other methods of pain management). Also, another method that works with pain and helps with the withdrawls, since oxycodone (percocet, oxycotin, ect) are more strenous on the body then hydrocodone (Vicoden/Lortab) they are essetially harder to kick. (Due to the horrible side effects from withdrawls) I would recommend, (But essentially its your decision and yours alone to make, or with consultation from your prenatal OB/OBGYN) There are numurous methods that are safer for baby, like methodone, or suboxone. Methodone was originally made for pain management and is a schedualed II narcotic (controlled substance).  Methodone is also used to help ease with drawls or optiate dependancy and is safe during pregnancy. Because fetus when in utero are delivered nutrients from the placenta, the placenta for some reason doesn't absorb optiate or narcotics as easy as it does other stuff. The methodone can be administered through a clinic (which remains private from your doctor and is really affordable). It can also be prescribed by a doctor, or Nurse practitioner. Using this methods makes opiate dependency more succefful of curing, and its also a pain managment with a lot fewer of the interactions the other narcotics have. Also, most pregnany women who want to get off the opiates or pain meds with out going into pre-term labor (from withdrawls) or risk of affecting thier baby choose these methods. I would talk to your doctor or look for a methadone clinic for more info. The methodone works in a fasion that is stimulates the opiate receptors in the brain, which also blocking the addivtive tendancies of the optiates, makeing a easier way of kicking them. This is also why pregnant women are put on this method to help them get off.

Here are some links, if you would like or are interested:

Methadone Treatment Info./Locating a Clinic or Doctor
Methadone Clinics, Info., Treatments, etc.
Merck Manual Doctors Resources For Patients Interested in Pain Management/Treatment

This information can be taken into consideration or completely disregarded, Its just my onion from personal experience, once being in the medical field and having lots of medical training, & numerous surgeries (reconstructive,bone graphs, and stabilization) on my foot. I am permanently disabled and have had a long long recovery with tons of pain and arthritis. I have tried basically every method available for pain management and found I may have liked the pain killer the best but didn't like how I would feel if I missed a dose of my pain pills (Oxycontin, hydrocodone, etc). I eventually became addictive/dependent ( I had to take them, but I was afraid too, because of the repercussions), and was afraid to talk to my parents (who are doctors) for help. I started methadone treatment for pain management and its the best thing I have done. I have gotten to the point where I am now decreasing my doses and I am planning to completely take my self off of it. I may still have a hard time walking and can't run, but I have learned a valuable lesson of dealing with my arthritis and hardware in my foot. The mind is a wonderful thing, and can do tremendous things. But when being pregnant and having terrible pain that becomes unbearable, relief is sometimes necessary and that's understandable. The methadone type treatment is the best bet for pregnant women and it helps you, which in return you can help the baby, and not be in  horrible pain and miss out on the most important thing in your life.


Best of Luck, and God Bless,



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by ppotter3, Mar 19, 2010
Opps, I posted the links about wrong.... here they are again....

----> Methadone Treatment Info./Locating a Clinic or Doctor  Methadone Clinics, Info., Treatments, etc.  Merck Manual Doctors Resources For Patients Interested in Pain Management/Treatment <----
http://turntohelpnow.com/Default.aspx


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by preggers35, Sep 23, 2010
if your 37 weeks pregnant and addicted badly to painkillers if i stop now will my baby test positive for drugs??

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by tichenor, Oct 23, 2010
i have done hydros for 6 months one and a half a day i am pregnant but purscribed to them, do i worry yes.. why do doctors give you the meds if they no what the side effects are going to be for a new born, this page upsets me and i will no longer take the meds my ob has given to me, it shouldnt be a question of will my new born be okay you should just stop as i am the pain is worth it when you hold your child in your arms for the time and he or she is healthy, yes i dont take make due to my doctor telling me already about the problems your infant aswell as you can have but who needs pain killers NOT ME im not addicted i take like im supose to, and i'm done.. you ppl should think about it to...

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by JadedSweetheart, Oct 23, 2010
There is some great info here and these ladies are well-informed.  I just wanted to mention that opiate pain meds are generally safer during pregnancy than advil and aleve.  Even safer than high doses of acetomenophen.  
If anyone comes across this post and needs more info or someone to talk to about these medications during pregnancy, please click on my username here and check out my journal here on Medhelp.  I have information regarding the safety of narcotics in pregnancy as well as my own story.

There is also a big difference in opiate dependence and opiate addiction.  A very small percentage of patients who take opiates for pain will become addicted, this has been proven.  However, the body will still be dependent on opiates when they are taken long-term and the body will go into withdrawls if the medicine is abruptly stopped.  Much like other meds.  That is why, as the original poster said,  you should never stop taking a medication cold turkey in pregnancy.

I take opiate pain meds and I'm 35 weeks pregnant.  I've discussed the potential affects on the baby with my doctor and she was very reassuring about it as the OB recognizes that I need the medication because of my conditions.  I am trying to taper off the meds but went into preterm labor last night so they aren't sure if it is advisable for me to continue to taper.  
Anyone who can taper off the medication should, though, as no one wants any newborn to suffer any effects from medication at all.  
There is hope for women who experience terrible chronic pain and become pregnant and any woman who has to take medication in pregnancy is not alone!

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by adgal, Oct 24, 2010
This topic comes up often in our pregnancy forums and what you have posted is excellent information.  When asked about this issue, if it is ok with you, I will refer them to this journal.  Thank you so much..

I get so worried when I hear women asking questions like "if I stop now will my baby test positive".  I am worried they are going to attempt to quit cold turkey on their own, which is so very dangerous.  The best chance your baby has is to be honest with your Dr.  Thank you again for posting this!

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by Amrenee85, Aug 10, 2011
I am really scared because i just found out im pregnant about a wk ago and i tried to the quit the oxycodone but my withdrawals get to bad by the 2nd day also i was taking citraprolam and colonapin/lorazepam but discontinued using those but i feel nausea all the time and havent been able to drink anything but milk.. and just feel like crap all the time i don't know what to do because my insurance is not currently active and i have not been to a doctor yet...please help!

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by jessiegiirl, Jul 20, 2012
so i take about 5 percs a day, the 512's and im 31 weeks pregnant. im very worried about the health of my unborn. i know i need to stop before
she born, about 4 weeks before so shes not born  with withdrawls, but im scared about her health and pre term labor.

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by Sadmommy21, Sep 12, 2012
I'm 27 weeks pregnant & been taking hydrocodone from the start! I NEVER take more than 2 a day! Some days I only take one! But I need to know when to stop taking them so they won't be in my sons system cause I don't want him taken away from me!! Please help me

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by duck0604, Dec 11, 2012
so my Now ex ha this woman he dated before me for five years that had always been into, unprescribed pills, pain killers, xanax, eetc. He got her pregnant a month befor,we got together., he broke up with me several times so he could keep an eye on her, but from what I gather, she takes anywhere from 50-100 pills a week, If not more. We finally broke up two Weeks ago because her due date is dec 15 and since she left him quite often, we weren't sure sure I'd the baby was his, but she told him if he stayed with me she would never let him find out. My concern is no longer for him, but for that baby. I doubt she had stopped using for any number of days, what are the possibilities of something being wrong with the baby? And what exactly could be wrong With him? Also.... If Saturday she still has it I'm her system when the baby us born, what will they do to her?

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by Cassandrabailey, Jan 16, 2013
My sister in law had a baby about a year ago. She was addicted to painkillers the entire time and for reasons of not getting her baby taken away she stopped probably a week before her due date. went into labor 4 days later. She had no drugs in her urine, and the baby died of Meconium Aspiration Syndrom. I believe that it was caused by her drug abuse and the baby went into shock and it caused the baby to poop( which from what i have been told, whenever a pill addict quits drugs they poop a lot coming down off of it.) I had a debate with a friend and she conciders it MURDER. I am very unsettled by this and i need more opinions. Everyone in my family is pretty closed up about the whole thing and I want answers!
Please Help.

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by acare84, Jul 07, 2013
I'm 37 weeks pregnant and I'm cebutex treatment for opiates but recently I've been taking 2 mg of xanax to help with stress

Will the baby become addicted and should I be  about CPS

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by bina33, Nov 03, 2013
Cassandrabailey
Babies can have bowel moveƱents with or withput the use of medication. But the baby did not die dueto her use of drugs, it is possible that the baby went into withdrawl same as she did when she stopped taking the medication before delivery, that is why most doctors wein you off before a babies intestinal tract is developed, or make you wait till the baby is born, for that reason alone that the baby can go into withdrawls while still in the womb, and they withdrawl just as an adult does, poop, nausea, pain, etc. if her doctor told her to continue taking them until a week before the babies EDD then dont blame her if she tried to get off them before baby was born unless she was a drug abuser/ illegal drug addict.

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by lilmama14632, Mar 06, 2014
I'm 39 weeks pregnant and have been taking lotab most of my pregnancy about 5 a day and some days none at all I can go days with out them and NOT have withdawles but some days the pain is just to bad and some days I'm fine my Dr prescribes them to me but I haven't told him that some days I don't take and some I do can or will by baby be addtive to them when he's born I'm getting induce on march 7 I need a answer I have been praying and praying and I have no one to talk to about this I'm scared to death

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by proudmama427, Aug 08, 2014
Hi I am 24 weeks pregnant And take 10-20mg of hydrocodone a day...I have tried to go cold turkey and its more mental than physical for me. The withdrawals aren't that bad other than my legs cramping...I want to quit note than anything. I want to just go cold turkey I have heard good and bad things. Someone with experience please tell me what to do. Its harder fore to taper than to go cold Turkey my baby boy is due Nov and I have a 5 year old I was never addicted to anything with her and had a great pregnancy. I want to go back to that.I just need supportive words and encouragement. I know my son is more important than this crap I want to stop now and forever and so I can breastfeed healthily. Thank you

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by Stefaniejohnson076, Nov 06, 2014
Xanax, valium and/or klonopin are benzo's not opiates....Other than that, my situation is a mirror of yours.  CPS was involved for a year since I have a long history of IV heroin use.  I was on methadone when my daughter was born and she too is in excellent health.  CPS closed our case for complice in September 2014.  Unfortunately, an evil vindictive individual playing Robin Hood called CPS and filed new allegations against us.  CPS asked for a hair follicle teswt on my one year old and I complied.  My daughter has hardly any hair.  All the hair on her head has been accumulated in the course of a year, and its not even long enough to warrant a hair cut yet.  The hair follicle test came back from the lab as positive for opiates, Morphine to be exact.  The paperwork states that there was not enough opiates to result in a positive test that would be admissible in a court of law.  CPS showed up on my doorstep with this paperwork in hand and told me I could not be alone with my daughter.  I am a stay at home mom and my boyfriend and other family members had to take time off work to babysit us.  We are visiting with an attorney and certified doctors this afternoon to see what are options are as well as the facts that lie behind this test.  Could a 1 year old child that doesn't have a lot of hair, has never had a hair cut test positive for opiates related to an epidural during pregnancy??  If anyone knows, let me know!!  However, I will have the facts that will prove my innocence or guilt this afternoon.  I know for sure that my daughter has NOT ingested anything of the sort here in my home, simply because the substance isn't here.  I do go the methadone clinic and she tags along daily with me.  She is in contact with other recovering heroin addicts only for a few moments at the clinic while I dose.  That is the only place she could even possibly come close to the toxin and I find that highly unlikely.  For all those out there having trouble with CPS surrounding issues of this nature, I will provide the factual information on this site as soon as I know.  I want to stick it to 'em and tell them to leave us alone.  I have high hopes of doing that after visiting with legal counsel and providing them with clean UA's from myself.  Please stay tuned for the results!!  (And thank you for posting this article so those who are plagued with this sort of CPS involvement can have somewhere to help them see we aren't alone in the world!!)

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by Stefaniejohnson076, Nov 06, 2014
Sorry, CPS closed our case for compliance not complice!! Sorry for typo!!

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