Making the decision to enter a rehab facility can be intimidating enough, but deciding to seek treatment as a pregnant victim of drug addiction is a completely different situation. Pregnant women often face harsh judgement and lack of options when seeking out help for drug use.
Drug use and abuse in pregnant women is not uncommon, but is often left untreated because of fear and intimidation. Women who are pregnant and mothers who have fallen victim to addiction face more obstacles when seeking treatment because of the heightened health risks. Seeking treatment may have consequences, but choosing not to seek the help you need may pose even greater consequences. It is important to know that there is help out there, even if it is more limited.
Risks Of Drug Abuse In Pregnant Women
The risks of using drugs while pregnant are greater because both lives, that of the mother and that of the unborn child, are in danger. It is important to be aware of the dangers that are presented when suffering from drug abuse while pregnant. These risks include miscarriage, stillbirth, birth defects, and premature birth. In addition to these risks there is also a chance your baby could be born going through withdrawals or addicted to the substance that you have become addicted to. Because of these major risks, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. Although there may be risks to seeking treatment, you are putting your unborn child and your own life at greater risk by not seeking proper treatment.
Fears Of Seeking Treatment
Many pregnant women continue to suffer from drug abuse while pregnant because they are afraid of the consequences involved when treatment is sought. Every state has different policies and laws in place in regard to pregnant addicted women. In some states, laws have been passed that will put a pregnant woman in jail if the state finds out that she has been using drugs during her pregnancy. Some states require that healthcare providers that encounter pregnant women suffering from substance abuse report it to the state. Many women are afraid that if they are reported to the state, they will lose custody of their children.
Unfortunately, these harsh rules that are meant to scare women out of using drugs while pregnant, do not always work. Instead of being afraid to use drugs, pregnant women are often afraid to seek treatment and continue to use drugs or try to treat themselves for drug addiction. Pregnant women suffering from drug addiction have a tendency, therefore, to not seek out the treatment that they need.
Options Available For Treatment
While options are somewhat limited for pregnant women and mothers, they are still available. Many rehab facilities do not offer their services to pregnant women or mothers because they do not have the means to do so. This might mean they do not have a staff qualified to assist pregnant women, they do not have room to host a mother and her children, or they cannot offer the aftercare that is also necessary in treatment of a pregnant victim of addiction. Research and education is key in finding the right facility for your needs.
Of the options for drug treatment services for pregnant women, these are most common and provide the best care:
- Inpatient care for pregnant women with lodging for children
- On-staff maternity nurses, midwives, and obstetricians
- Facilities in proximity to hospitals
- Safe detox with care toward the unborn child
- Medication therapy safe during pregnancy
- Outpatient services with maternity resources
- Sober living facilities with medical staff
- Gender-specific therapies
- Transportation services
- Education on parenting
- Pediatric follow-up
Risks Of Not Seeking Treatment
While many women live in fear of losing their children to the state or landing in jail for their addiction, there may be more risks in not seeking treatment. Some women will try to do their own detox program without realizing how dangerous this is to the fetus. While it is dangerous for the mother to detox on her own, it can be fatal to the unborn child going through a detox without proper, professional help.
Potential effects to an unborn baby from drug abuse include:
- Low birthweight
- Malformation of organs
- Birth defects, potentially causing long-term issues
- Fetal addiction
- Problems within the central nervous system
Depending on the drug being abused, many doctors recommend using professionally administered methadone instead of going cold turkey off of drugs. Every victim of addiction is different and the same goes for every pregnant victim. Without professional help the risks of miscarriage, stillbirth, and premature birth are much greater. Doctors and rehab facilities trained and equipped to treat a baby born with addiction do exist and they are able to make the aftercare process much easier than a mother trying to face this problem without any help. While the risks to seeking treatment might seem terrifying, the risks in not seeking treatment are even scarier.
If you are a pregnant women or a mother who suffers from addiction and you need help, contact us. DrugRehab.org can help you find the treatment specific to your needs and the needs of your children. Remember that you are not alone in this. The more women who speak out and seek treatment, the better chance we have to create more programs and facilities for women like you.
Do not feel discouraged by others who may be quick to judge you. Do not live in fear of consequences. Seeking treatment is the best thing you can do for yourself and for your children. If you or your loved one is suffering from drug abuse while pregnant, know that we understand that you are a victim and that you need help. There is help out there for you and we will do whatever we can to help you find it.