Woman in labor tests positive for opiates because she ate a popp - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Woman in labor tests positive for opiates because she ate a poppy seed bagel

Elizabeth Eden paid the price for her breakfast choice the day her daughter was born. (Source: WBAL/ Elizabeth Eden via CNN) Elizabeth Eden paid the price for her breakfast choice the day her daughter was born. (Source: WBAL/ Elizabeth Eden via CNN)

TOWSON, MD (WBAL/CNN) – A Baltimore County woman paid the price for her breakfast choice the day her daughter was born.

Elizabeth Eden never imagined she'd test positive for opiates when she delivered baby Beatrice last spring.

"I was in labor. 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.

She'd heard in a school health class that consuming poppy seeds could cause a false positive, but that was certainly not on her mind when she gave birth at St. Joseph Medical Center on April 4.

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

Poppy seeds come from the opium poppy plant. The drug is made from the sap of that plant, but the seeds contain trace amounts of opiates.

It doesn't take much to test positive for drugs after eating a poppy seed bagel. In fact, studies have shown that just a teaspoon of poppy seeds can cause your levels to be 1,200 nanograms per millimeter.

A positive test at St. Joseph Medical Center is 300 nanograms per millimeter. Dr. Judith Rossiter-Pratt, the chief of the department of OBGYN, said the hospital uses the cutoff as a means of catching as many true drug abusers as possible.

Because of her breakfast choice, Eden's daughter had to stay in the hospital on hold for five days, and Eden was assigned a state case worker for a home check-up.

"It was traumatizing," Eden said.

In a detailed letter to St. Joseph's, Eden detailed her research on poppy seeds and raised her concerns in hopes the hospital would raise its threshold for a positive test, or at least warn expectant mothers.

"We don't typically educate patients, and it's a really good point that people probably should know that if you use poppy seeds before you have a toxicology screen that it could result in a false positive test," Rossiter-Pratt said.

After realizing Eden's situation was a legitimate case of the poppy seed defense, her case worker closed the file, but it was an ordeal she hopes no other mom must go through.

Copyright 2018 WBAL via CNN. All rights reserved.

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