addiction and pregnancy

The Truth About Pregnancy and Drug Addiction

For many women, pregnancy is an empowering and exciting time. From the moment those two pink lines appear on the home pregnancy test to the day a new mom meets her baby face-to-face, pregnancy and the idea of motherhood is unlike any other experience.

For a woman struggling to break free from drug addiction, however, pregnancy can feel like a panicked race against the clock to stop using along with the weight of shame that often keeps a woman silent and afraid to seek help.

What Are the Barriers for a Pregnant Woman in Active Addiction?

A woman in active addiction often struggles with reaching out for help because:

  • She may be  afraid of being judged, shamed or ridiculed.
  • Anxiety about the laws and fear of being arrested.
  • She may be afraid her baby will be taken away from her, so she is trying to quit on her own.

Just these three reasons listed above can be enough stressors to keep a pregnant woman locked in silence. Although this is unfortunate, we are thankful for the technology and communication avenues we have today. Someone who is reading this article right now may have found it because she was searching online for some answers to her pregnancy questions:

  • Will opiates harm my unborn baby?
  • If I quit using drugs and alcohol early in my pregnancy, will my baby be okay?
  • Can I get arrested if I test positive for drugs at my prenatal appointment?
  • Will the state take my baby if it is born addicted?

If these questions are rolling around in your mind, the best thing you can do is reach out to a pregnancy advocate here at Gracious Care Recovery Solutions. We have a recovery program for expectant mothers and we are happy to help find answers to all your questions.

First, and most important, is your health and well being. As a new, potential mom, recovery is an essential part of your journey into motherhood. Recovery will help avoid serious risks and pregnancy complications caused by drug use and addiction.

Pregnancy and Drug Addiction

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, approximately 5.4 percent of women between the ages 15 and 44 who were pregnant in 2012 and 2013 used illicit drugs at some point during their pregnancy. The same administration investigated the number of pregnant women who were admitted for drug use issues into treatment centers. In their study, they found that only 4.4 percent to 4.8 percent of pregnant women sought help for addiction issues between 2000 and 2010. Besides the stigma listed above, why is this number so low?

Some women may simply go ‘cold turkey’ and, with the help of friends and family, stop their drug use, at least while pregnant, without the help of a treatment facility. Many, however, face other obstacles that may get in the way of their recovery, such as actually locating a treatment center that helps pregnant women. Some residential programs are afraid of the liability that comes from treating women who are pregnant.

Importance of Recovery During Pregnancy

Every substance you consume when you’re pregnant, whether it’s alcohol, tobacco, or any other type of drug, passes easily through the placenta to your unborn child. This is why doctors recommend several lifestyle changes when you become pregnant. You’ll have to avoid certain foods, drinks and even activities that could harm your child. Even if you take every precaution, complications are still a risk.

The risk of complications is even higher if you’re using drugs or alcohol. Among the most common complications are:

  • Miscarriages and stillbirths
  • Placental abruption
  • Premature labor
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
  • Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS)

NAS is one complication for babies born to mothers with opioid addiction problems. With this complication, the baby is born dependent on the opioids it received during development. After birth, the baby goes through withdrawal and suffers from symptoms like vomiting, fever, diarrhea and seizures.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that between 400,000 to 440,000 children born each year are affected by exposure to illicit drugs and alcohol during pregnancy.

Getting Treatment During Pregnancy

To protect your health and the health of your unborn child, get help for drug and alcohol abuse. Pregnant women who go through treatment can have healthy pregnancies, but only if they receive the right therapy and support in a safe and rehabilitative environment.

Gracious Care Recovery Solutions would be honored to be that safe place of support for you.

Life in recovery for you and your child can be better than you’ve ever imagined.
Call us today.


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