What Happens When You’re Addicted While Pregnant?

When pregnant women take drugs or consume alcohol, the substance is passed through the placenta and reaches the unborn fetus. This can lead to several health complications, including a condition called neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). This means that the unborn child can be born addicted to drugs or alcohol and may experience withdrawal symptoms after birth.

Using harmful substances during pregnancy isn’t good for the mother or baby. Drug abuse can lead to a 2.2 times greater chance of stillbirth, and the mother is at risk of damaging her own health and that of the baby.

Experiencing an alcohol or drug addiction while pregnant can lead to feelings of shame and guilt. However, at NP Addiction Clinic, we recognize that addiction is not your choice. We offer specialized health care to help you through this challenging time and treat woman who are addicted and are pregnant up to the second trimester in our Forgotten Mom’s Program.

Risks of Substance Abuse During Pregnancy

When pregnant women continue using alcohol and drugs throughout pregnancy, there can be many negative consequences for the unborn child. These include:

  • Low birth weight
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)
  • Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS)
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • Deformities of the face and skull
  • Infections such as HIV and hepatitis C
  • Miscarriage
  • Stillbirth
  • Premature labor
This list may sound terrifying, but there is always hope. By seeking treatment for substance abuse as early in pregnancy as possible, harm to the unborn child can be limited with an effective detox program.

NP Addiction Clinic doesn’t stop at detox, either. Mental health specialists will help you work through underlying issues that may contribute to addiction to maximize the chances of a successful recovery.
Specialized Pregnancy Treatment at NP Addiction Recovery Center

How Can Different Substances Affect Pregnancy?

"The effects of substance abuse on pregnancy and the unborn child vary depending on the substance being used. Below, we have outlined how different substances may affect pregnancy.

  • Alcohol - Drinking alcohol when pregnant can lead to congenital disabilities such as fetal alcohol syndrome and withdrawal symptoms after birth. It also increases the risk of stillbirth and miscarriage.
  • Opioids and opiates - Using opioids, such as heroin or prescription painkillers, can result in NAS in newborn infants. Using opiates intravenously through needles also exposes both pregnant women and unborn children to dangerous diseases.
  • Cocaine - Newborn infants can exhibit signs of NAS if cocaine is used through pregnancy. Here the risk of premature birth and miscarriage is much higher.
  • Amphetamines - Amphetamines such as ecstasy and meth can have severe effects on pregnant women, such as high blood pressure, sleeping problems, vomiting, and nausea.
Risks of Substance Abuse During Pregnancy
Risks of Substance Abuse During Pregnancy

As noted above, substance abuse in pregnancy can often lead to NAS. Here, newborn infants exhibit withdrawal symptoms. These can include:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty feeding
  • Sleeping issues
  • Quick, rapid breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever

While this might seem scary, receiving treatment for alcohol or drug abuse dramatically reduces the risk of NAS and other birth complications. Taking the step to a healthier life for yourself and your baby can seem intimidating, but it is entirely worth it.

Receiving addiction treatment in a detox program is the safest option, as your detox will be monitored every step of the way. You’ll receive the most appropriate medication that is safe for both you and your baby, and you’ll work with our specialists to identify mental health issues and negative feelings.

If you want to treat a substance use disorder, we do not recommend doing so without professional support. Attempting to recover alone can lead to severe physical and mental distress that can increase the chances of birth complications and can harm both the mother and unborn child.

“They are the best people in this profession they took care of all my needs I mean!! The doctors, therapists, and counselors and the case workers really work hard on getting your life back together. I hope anyone that needs help reads this and calls them. Thank y’all for helping me and taking care of me!’’ – Former Client
Specialized Pregnancy Treatment at NP Addiction Recovery Center

Substance Abuse and Mental Health During Pregnancy

A dual diagnosis, sometimes known as a co-occurring disorder, means that an individual experiences addiction because of a mental health condition or vice versa. This requires specialized care to treat both the addiction and mental health head-on for a comprehensive recovery.

Pregnancy can be as stressful as it is joyful, and antepartum (before birth) depression is unfortunately very common. Sadly, antepartum depression can impact addiction by making it worse. It can also lead expecting mothers to turn to drug abuse to cope with negative feelings of hopelessness and despair.

Symptoms of a potential dual diagnosis include:

  • Missing school or work
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Difficulty completing daily tasks
  • Erratic behavior
  • Mood swings

Get The Help You Deserve

At NP Addiction Clinic, we recognize that pregnant women need specialized care to address their unique problems. Here, we ensure that all clients have access to mental health support and counseling to get to the root cause of addiction. We help to prevent the chances of a relapse by identifying any underlying issues and offering comprehensive support.

Our thorough assessment process allows us to identify the needs of each individual so that we can provide targeted care and around-the-clock support to help each person on the path to recovery.

Start your journey to recovery today with a bespoke detox program at NP Addiction Clinic. With our in-depth assessment process, we’ll identify the best treatment for you and get you on your way to recovery to start a substance-free life for you and your baby.

Using techniques such as counseling and calming yoga, our specialized pregnancy detox program will help you work towards the healthy, happy life that both you and your baby deserve.

NP Addiction Clinic offers friendly, judgment-free prenatal care for pregnant women experiencing drug addiction.
Contact us today to find out how we can assist you.
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