Pregnancy & Addiction Recovery




Pregnancy is an exciting time in a woman’s life. One that is highly anticipated for but not always as highly prepared for. There is a great responsibility that a mother holds in terms of her child’s mental and physical health.

It is crucial that the mother is aware of the risks she can place on her child if not clean during pregnancy. There is help available for both pregnant women and women wanting to get pregnant who struggle with substance abuse.

Alcohol Abuse During Pregnancy

Above other addictive substances such as marijuana and heroin, alcohol is the most harmful substance in producing serious effects in the fetus. Alcohol has the ability to cause irreversible developmental defects in a baby if the mother consumes it even once during pregnancy.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FADSD) has shown to result directly from alcohol consumption during pregnancy. There is not a “safe” amount of alcohol a mother can drink without harming her child during pregnancy. If a woman drinks alcohol, it travels directly through her umbilical cord to the baby.

Each child and mother is different, there is no way to know for sure how alcohol will affect the child. While there is no cure for FASD, early intervention can improve a child’s development.

Common symptoms of FASD include:

  • Abnormally small heads and brains

  • Heart and spine defects

  • Shorter than average height

  • Low body weight

  • Intellectual disability

  • Vision and hearing problems

  • Behavioral problems

  • Delayed physical development

  • Problems with the heart, kidney, or bones

  • Hyperactive behavior

  • Poor memory

  • Speech and language delays

  • Abnormal facial features

  • A smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip

Drug Abuse During Pregnancy

A fetus is not safe from developing its mother’s pattern of addiction. Each substance that a mother uses travels through her bloodstream and has the potential to be released to the baby. Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), is a common condition of babies whose mothers use opioids. The babies become dependent on the drug used by the mother during pregnancy and experience withdrawal following birth when not receiving the drug any longer.

While there is no indication that babies whose mothers are addicted to other drugs such as amphetamines, nicotine, marijuana, and cocaine suffers from NAS, they still suffer from other long-term health problems including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and Microcephaly. SIDS is the abrupt death of a baby less than one-year-old and Microcephaly refers to small head circumference, the baby’s brain is not developing properly.

Common symptoms of NAS include:

  • Blotchy skin color

  • Diarrhea

  • Fever

  • Rapid breathing

  • Seizure

  • Sweating

  • Trembling

  • Vomiting


Detox and Addiction Treatment for Pregnant Women

Many women fear the risks associated with treatment, however, addiction only advances without intervention. Detoxification under the supervision of a doctor is integral for the health and safety of both the mother and her child. There are different detox methodologies used depending on the type of substance used by the mother, her stage of pregnancy, and her psychiatric history.

It is strongly recommended for both mothers addicted to alcohol and drugs to seek inpatient treatment. The medications used in substance abuse treatment are needed to be supervised by a doctor. Withdrawal can be fatal to the baby, depending on the severity of the addiction and the medications needed to be used for detoxification of both the mother and baby.

The most critical piece of information to remember when it comes to pregnancy and addiction is that recovery is possible. In order to increase the chances of long-term recovery, it is essential for women to attend therapy and support groups during and after their time at a treatment center.

Not all drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers are equipped to specialize in pregnant women, it is crucial to confirm that the facility is specialized in this area of expertise prior to enrollment in a program.

Break free from the struggle of addiction. We’re here to help you or a loved one. Reach out to us any time, day or night. Confidential. Call: (844) 978-1524

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