Pregnancy and addiction is a deadly combination. The use of drugs or substances of abuse by pregnant women may have serious health effects on infants. These substances move quickly to the foetus through the placenta!
What are the crucial things pregnant women dealing with addiction must know for their health and safety, as well as the health and safety of the unborn child?. Read on…
Although pregnancy can be exciting for many women as well as their husbands, it may be frightening to have an unplanned pregnancy, especially when addicted to drugs or alcohol. Addiction is a complicated disorder, and more complications are produced by pregnancy. During pregnancy, various factors affect the health of the mother and infant.
Use of drugs is well-known to be dangerous to the unborn child. That said, becoming pregnant can also cause unique dangers for the mother when dealing with addiction. Mothers who use drugs during pregnancy, for example, maybe at an elevated risk of death due to the pregnancy.
Facts About Pregnancy and Addiction
In the United States, the number of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is rising because substance use during pregnancy is a growing problem. Among pregnant women, opioid use disorder alone increased by 127%. Women who are pregnant and addicted may have trouble abstaining from drugs or alcohol, even while considering the dangers. In certain cases, stopping suddenly may cause the mother to experience extreme withdrawal symptoms. As a consequence, neonatal death becomes common.
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Some pregnant women can self-medicate using substances. Studies have shown that in the past, as many as 73% of pregnant women seeking care had undergone physical violence; another 71% had undergone emotional abuse, and 45% had suffered sexual abuse. For a pregnant woman, these types of past trauma may be related to co-occurring conditions, such as PTSD or anxiety and depression. Co-occurring conditions will make it much harder for a pregnant woman without formal care to avoid using drugs.
Infographic on Pregnancy and Addiction
I urge you to read the accompanying “infographics on pregnancy and addiction” for further information on this pressing subject. You can download the infographics using the download button below:
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Prenatal Drug Abuse Symptoms
Substance abuse during pregnancy can result in many complications directly related to the health of the infant, such as birth defects, miscarriage and stillbirth. Each kind of substance, however, may come with inherent risks for the child. Below are some substances of abuse and their symptoms:
- Cocaine: Low birth weight, small head circumference, stillbirth and miscarriage.
- Alcohol:foetal alcohol syndrome, late-term miscarriage, neurodevelopmental disorders and some birth defects.
- Tobacco: Low birth weight, increased risks of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), learning or behavioural problems, and much likelihood of future substance addiction.
- Marijuana: lowered birth weight, preterm labour, withdrawal symptoms after delivery, stillbirth, and developmental or behavioural problems.
- Opioids: Increased risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), placental abruption, stillbirth and NAS (neonatal abstinence syndrome).
- Stimulants: Miscarriage, stillbirth, placental abruption, brain defects or abnormalities, and heart defects.
Finding Help And Addiction Treatment Options for Pregnant Women
Pregnant women, if addicted, should be well-supported by various services. A specifically structured mother-to-be recovery program like Portage.ca, americanaddictioncenters.org, and phoenixhouse.org will assist a woman to avoid using drugs in a manner that is better for her and the baby. Options for care for addicted pregnant women should include:
- Detox programs that are professionally controlled
- Therapy, counselling and community peer-support meetings
- Supporting pharmacological addiction with drugs approved for pregnancy
- Parenting classes or vocational services in order to enhance life skills
- Obstetric and pediatric treatment by professionals who are familiar with the specific situation
- Assistance in avoiding relapses and sustained sobriety
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While addiction during pregnancy may trigger very specific risks, there may be a lack of treatment services tailored to meet the purpose. Just 19 states had alcohol or opioid recovery services that were explicitly intended to support women who were pregnant. Additionally, for fear of losing their child or facing legal problems, many women stop seeking care while pregnant.
Specifically, drug treatment services for pregnant mothers provide a solid base for rehabilitation by offering all levels of care and counselling that the mother may need. Throughout pregnancy and beyond, these women not only have the ability to avoid using substances, but also to improve life skills, get help from friends and counsellors, and experience compassionate treatment. A residential recovery program, for instance, helps the mother to access everything from obstetric care and maternal care to health services and a standardized sleep schedule.
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During pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum, all women will face emotional and physical challenges. Each woman, therefore, deserves the best physical and emotional support. The needs of the mother and child may be exacerbated when you introduce addiction to the case. For the mother and baby, a detailed treatment plan with a competent team might be most helpful.
The first step to a healthy pregnancy, a healthier baby, and a mother with a new lease on a sober life are to reach out to a trained therapist for help if you are pregnant and addicted, or know someone who is. I repeat; Pregnancy and addiction is a deadly combination!
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