Over the past three decades in the United States, rates of addiction have increased. Many more people than before find themselves using substances to cope with difficult situations, including pregnancy. Due to the levels of risk and the increased percentage of women using substances during pregnancy, treatment facilities are taking actionable steps to prevent substance use disorders in women who are pregnant. However, many women with substance use disorder are reluctant to admit to the problem, especially when pregnancy is part of the scenario. Therefore it is essential to understand the risks of substance use during pregnancy to see if you need help with addiction while pregnant.
What Happens With Substance Use and Pregnancy
The dangers of using substances while pregnant can include permanent damage to the child. Certain substances used during pregnancy may lead to neonatal abstinence syndrome and fetal alcohol syndrome, which affect the child's impairment and growth. Additionally, depending on the severity of the substance use disorder, the child can have cognitive development issues and different degrees of health concerns throughout their life.
Furthermore, a pregnant woman who uses substances has a higher risk of dependency on substances during and after the pregnancy, leading to life-threatening situations. Sadly, because of the increased likelihood of dependence and the fact that women are more at risk for overdosing, many pregnant women who depend on substances may find themselves overdosing before or after delivery.
Substance use disorders can lead to miscarriage or infant mortality, and new mothers can develop postpartum depression, further progressing the dependency on drugs or alcohol. Pregnancy creates emotional imbalances and can affect situations such as family relationships and insecurities and increase the likelihood of using more substances throughout their pregnancy. Some women who have experienced sexual abuse can experience additional stress and are more likely to have negative emotional experiences throughout the pregnancy, potentially leading to substance abuse.
Pregnant women who have substance use disorder often feel shame and guilt because they are aware that their struggle is taboo. Substance use in pregnancy needs to be addressed as soon as possible for the child's and the mother's health.
Specific Treatment for Addiction During Pregnancy
When substance use is part of the equation, the outcomes can be life-threatening for both the baby and the woman, and there are many more complications that can come up in birth and new motherhood than in pregnancies where it is not. For example, studies show that pregnant women who use substances are more likely to later neglect their child. Additionally, there may be the potential for the mother to be incarcerated or have her child taken away. This is harmful to the child and could lead to worsening substance abuse for the mother.
Because of the enhanced risks of addiction during pregnancy, treatment centers provide specific approaches for pregnant women to help dissuade substance use and instead seek prenatal care. Many women still reject treatments because they can't find the right treatment plan or because it is unaffordable. In 2010, the United States designated substance use treatment programs directed towards pregnant women as a priority. Such programs utilize different approaches to develop a safe and affordable treatment service for pregnant women and their families.
In addition, the legality and opportunity of the treatment option help women avoid stigma and judgment, allowing them to get the help they need. These treatment programs encourage safer practices, promote healthy lifestyle habits, and provide education and tools to prevent substance use, all while treating substance use disorder and giving prenatal care.
How to Admit You Need Help With an Addiction During Pregnancy
While adverse outcomes and stressful situations can happen in any pregnancy, when substance use is part of the problem, the experience can spiral uncontrollably. It is essential to connect with someone who understands the delicacy of the situation if you are pregnant and struggle with substance use so they can provide adequate care for both conditions simultaneously.
NorthStar Transitions has resources for pain management, co-occurring disorders, prenatal health care, family integration, supportive relationship groups, and after-birth care you can take full advantage of to avoid the consequences of addiction during pregnancy. While each situation is different, you can be sure you will be in the hands of people who have your best interests in mind and will tailor your treatment to meet your needs.
If you or your loved one are stressed about finding help with addiction while pregnant, admitting you need help is the first step toward a healthier lifestyle. The next step is to contact someone who understands what you're dealing with and how to help you today.
At NorthStar Transitions, we know that substance use is an unhealthy way to cope with life stressors, but it is not a means to live a healthy lifestyle. We believe in helping every single individual regardless of the situation. NorthStar Transitions has advanced treatment options for each person who picks up the phone and contacts us for information. If you or your loved one suffer from substance use disorder during pregnancy, our team is here to help you the entire way. We know that you may experience traumatic situations or have concerns about how your choices affect your child. If you are pregnant and have a substance use disorder, we want to be there to help support you and guide you in the right direction with a custom treatment plan for you, your child, and your family. Reach out to NorthStar Transitions today to see how our compassionate team can help you at (303) 558-6400.