Pregnant women face several challenges while bearing children. It is common for expecting women to have problems sleeping, experience gastrointestinal upset, become fatigued easily, and be highly emotional, for example. All of this and more is completely normal and expected, but when a pregnant woman is also abusing drugs while carrying a child, the playing field becomes much more complex — and deadly.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), approximately 5% of pregnant women in America abuse one or more addictive substances. Of these addictive substances, the most commonly abused are opioids like heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl. Abusing opioids or other drugs like cocaine, marijuana, meth, or prescription drugs like Adderall, Ativan, and Xanax (to name a few) can lead to severe health problems and threaten the lives of both the mother and her unborn child.
What to Expect at Drug Rehab for Pregnant Women
If you are a pregnant woman who is struggling with addiction, the type of drug rehab that you will participate in will be dependent on the severity of your substance use disorder, as well as any specifics related to your pregnancy. For some pregnant women, the very first step in drug rehab is detoxing.
Detox is a service geared towards those individuals, pregnant or not, who are physically dependent on drugs. Typically, detox is a common first step for those who are dependent on opioids, cocaine, meth, and prescription drugs (such as benzodiazepines). Detox is critical for anyone who is dealing with a dependency, but if you are pregnant, it is even more important as both your wellbeing and the wellbeing of your child are at stake.
During detox, you will no longer be using any drugs, meaning that you will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms rather quickly. Again, the severity of your withdrawal symptoms depend on the severity of your substance use disorder. Common withdrawal symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, muscle aches, sweating, chills, fever, depression, and anxiety. When pregnant, these symptoms can be doubly dangerous, as more serious issues such as dehydration, malnutrition, seizures, and more can occur, threatening both you and your child. When you are in drug rehab for pregnant women, you and your baby will be monitored throughout your detox, ensuring that you are both receiving the best care possible. Once you have detoxed and you and your baby are stable, you can transition into therapeutic care.
For many pregnant women, detox is not necessary, meaning that they will begin their treatment with therapy. When you enter into therapy, you will be given the opportunity to work on the mental and emotional issues that have contributed to your substance use disorder. This is where the most in-depth, effective treatment begins, as identifying and addressing these issues can help you stop turning to the use of drugs and begin making better decisions to support your long-term sobriety.
Drug rehab for women offers several types of evidence-based treatments and therapies designed to promote lasting change. They include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Individual psychotherapy
- Group counseling
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
- Motivational interviewing
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and other trauma therapy
- Experiential therapy (including art therapy and music therapy)
The amount of time you spend in drug rehab is going to be determined by the level of care that you require. Of course, your pregnancy is timely, meaning that your therapy might have to work around your delivery if you are still set to receive care around your due date. These are logistical factors and can be easily managed in the treatment program you are attending.
Thankfully, there are resources designed specifically for pregnant women. Drug rehab is offered in inpatient and outpatient settings for women who are expecting, as their needs are much different than those of others who are not pregnant. At our drug rehab for pregnant women, we provide both medical and psychological care, as well as encourage patients to continually receive obstetric care to ensure the wellbeing of both themselves and their children.
If you are addicted to drugs and are currently expecting, it is imperative that you seek professional help immediately. Ignoring the need for treatment can lead to an endless amount of consequences that can completely alter the course of you and your unborn child’s lives. By getting help, you can stop any further damage and give both yourself and your child a chance at a brighter future.
What Can Happen When a Pregnant Woman Abuses Drugs?
Drug abuse of any kind during pregnancy puts both the woman and her unborn child at serious risk for harm. The mother and baby can experience several consequences of her drug abuse, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Placental abruption (when the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus)
- Preterm labor/premature birth
- Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) which causes symptoms including:
- Rapid breathing
Additionally, the mother can overdose on drugs while pregnant, costing her and her baby their lives. If an expectant mother is abusing drugs and delivers her baby, the baby can experience neonatal abstinence syndrome (as mentioned above), as well as other effects such as:
- Small head circumference, which can cause developmental disorders
- Low birth weight, often causing problems with the heart, intestines, vision, and respiratory system
- Increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
If you are a pregnant woman who is addicted to drugs, it is crucial that you get help as quickly as possible. Allowing your addiction to remain active only increases your risk of suffering consequences as well as your baby’s risk. Plus, even if you stop using, your baby can still go on to experience challenges both at the beginning of and throughout his or her life.
Are You Struggling with Drug Addiction During Your Pregnancy and Need Help?
If you need help with drug addiction, do not waste one more second. Reach out to us right now. We can help you overcome your active addiction and provide yourself and your baby a better, more hopeful future.