Addiction, Recovery, Pregnancy & You

Pregnancy and addiction

Recovering as a Pregnant Mother: What Might Recovery Look Like for a Pregnant Woman? 

The number of women who use substances during pregnancy is on the rise. Research has shown a direct link between substance use and health problems for unborn children; we know it’s better to avoid substances if you’re pregnant.  

Why Might Pregnant Women Use Substances? 

No one plans to be dependent on substances while pregnant. For some women, circumstances that they have had to endure may have triggered substance use. For example, pregnant women who have experienced sexual abuse have shown higher substance use behaviors than their counterparts. Other women may have had a history of using substances that reaches far back in time, long before they ever even thought of having children; this means that by the time pregnancy becomes a reality for these women, substance use may already be a part of their life that is difficult to heal from. No matter the circumstances, there are many women who use substances while pregnant.  

Thankfully, there are resources available to support pregnant women who choose to begin their recovery journey. Before accessing these resources, pregnant mothers may have a few questions they want to be answered. Is it possible to free yourself from substance use disorders, and do it without putting the unborn baby in danger? What does a recovery program look like? Is it too late for the child? 

Seeking Treatment 

The threat of being punished for an addiction, or the stigma that other people may place on recovering mothers are two factors that may stop women from seeking treatment for themselves and their children. However, the best thing they can possibly do for both of their futures to seek out prenatal care and treatment for the substance dependence disorder. In fact, children may be up to five times more likely to die in infancy or have a very low birth weight if they don’t receive prenatal care. If you are struggling with a substance use disorder, please contact us today to learn more about the best options for you and your child. 

It is crucial that pregnant women be under a doctor’s care to detox from substances during pregnancy. The detox method that is used will depend on the substance that the pregnant woman is trying to recover from, the level of dependence on the substance, and the woman’s health history. In some cases, such as recovery from opioid addiction, medications can be used to substitute the drug which is being abused. For example, methadone or buprenorphine prescriptions are combined with prenatal care when treating pregnant women in recovery. Newborns exposed to these treatments may still need to be treated for withdrawal symptoms but they are often less severe than the symptoms associated with the drugs which were abused in the first place.  

Women who plan to detox from alcohol may be prescribed medications if doctors think it is necessary. Detox is not the only part of recovery for pregnant women, however. Other recovery resources are incorporated into treatment so that women learn to live drug-free lives. Therapy is a powerful tool for women in recovery because it allows for a space to address and discuss the factors that led to substance abuse. 

What Might a Treatment Plan Look Like? 

Before pregnant women enrol in treatment centers, it is important to assess whether the facility can meet their complex needs. Pregnancy necessitates specialised treatment and not all facilities are equipped to help pregnant women; it is important to make sure that the rehabilitation program of choice has the facilities to provide the specialised help needed.  

A comprehensive and well-rounded treatment plan will be designed by professionals from various specialities and might include the following: 

  • Pregnancy education and counselling 
  • Medical detox, if required  
  • Parenting training 
  • Individual therapy 
  • Group therapy 
  • Prenatal care 
  • Planning for life outside rehab 

Choosing to heal from substance abuse is the absolute best choice a pregnant mother can make for her and her baby’s wellbeing. Comprehensive care and specialised support will give mother and baby the best chance of success during pregnancy and beyond. Get in touch with a member of our team today to learn more about the support available for pregnant women.