Addiction affects women from all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, and studies show that more than 10 percent of pregnant women drink or use illicit drugs. Across the U.S., substance abuse during pregnancy continues to rise, especially with prescription drugs like opioids. Every 15 minutes, a baby is born addicted to opioids.
When a mother abuses drugs or alcohol during pregnancy, both she and the baby are at risk for serious health problems. The mother could be at risk for addiction, dependence, and overdose. Babies are at risk for preterm birth, birth defects, and neonatal abstinence syndrome (withdrawal).
Help is available for women who are pregnant and struggling with addiction. Vertava Health offers drug and alcohol rehab programs that are tailor-made for expectant mothers. In these rehab centers, patients participate in therapies that include individual counseling, medication-assisted treatment, and parenting classes.
How Do Alcohol And Drugs Affect Pregnant Women?
Drugs and alcohol have various effects on mothers and babies. Many substances cross the placenta, which can have a direct impact on the developing fetus. While the mother is at risk for dependence, the baby could suffer life-threatening consequences.
Drinking while pregnant can lead to fetal alcohol disorders, low birth weight, and long-term behavioral issues. Prescription drugs like opioids can cause neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), or withdrawal. Babies born with NAS may experience seizures, respiratory problems, feeding issues, and even death.
Most mothers do not feel good about using substances while pregnant. However, when a mother is physically dependent on a substance, she may be unsure of how to stop taking the drug. Maternity detox programs and treatment centers exist in order to help pregnant women safely get off alcohol and drugs.
Alcohol And Drug Treatment Options For Pregnant Women
Pregnancy has significant impacts on a person’s physical body, as well as their emotions. Pregnant women who suffer from substance use disorders need specialized treatment in order to access the holistic services they deserve.
In rehab programs, many women benefit from individual and group counseling. Participating in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other forms of therapy have been shown to deepen a person’s commitment to recovery. Pregnant women can also learn to manage stress through relaxing therapeutic practices, such as yoga or meditation.
Individualized treatment plans will vary, depending on the type of drug a person takes. If a woman is physically dependent on a substance, her body may require that substance in order to function normally.
Patients in this scenario may benefit from medical detoxification. Medical detox programs provide support throughout the withdrawal process. Additional treatment options may include:
When a person is in active addiction, it can be difficult to prioritize prenatal care. But it’s vital to stay current with doctor visits, especially for women who are pregnant. Unfortunately, women who struggle with addiction may delay or avoid prenatal care due to fear of judgment or legal consequences.
In maternity rehab programs, women are provided medical care in an environment that prioritizes dignity, privacy, and respect. If a woman has any co-occurring physical or mental health concerns, treatment teams provide comprehensive care that addresses the needs of the whole person.
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
Women who are addicted to drugs or alcohol during pregnancy may require certain medications to stop using substances. For example, doctors may prescribe buprenorphine-based medications to women who are addicted to opioids. This form of MAT reduces cravings and soothes withdrawal symptoms.
Women who battle alcohol addiction may also be provided with medications that decrease withdrawal symptoms. While these medications can come with side effects, experts agree that the side effects are safer than continued maternal drug use.
Peer Support Groups
All new parents can benefit from connecting with others during this transitional time of their lives. For women who are juggling addiction as well as impending motherhood, peer support is even more important.
In a safe and supportive treatment setting, therapists facilitate group discussions among pregnant patients. Topics may range from relationships to self-esteem. These therapy sessions provide a judgment-free zone for women to share their fears, hopes, and questions.
Group therapy sessions are also designed to provide a support system that fosters accountability. Once a woman completes treatment, the support she discovers in peer groups will remain available to her through aftercare programming.
Benefits Of Substance Abuse Treatment For Pregnant Women
For many people, overcoming addiction in a treatment center may feel overwhelming. However, drug and alcohol rehab programs can reap lifelong benefits. In addition to unique therapies and emotional support, pregnant women will have access to resources like regular medical care and customized recovery plans.
Drug and alcohol rehab programs also help pregnant patients learn how to:
- build self-awareness
- develop a sense of self-worth
- manage expectations
- practice communication skills
- utilize relapse prevention strategies
- practice coping skills
- avoid triggers
- build healthy relationships
Many rehab programs for expectant mothers also offer parenting classes. For women who are looking to enter or re-enter the professional world, treatment centers may provide interview techniques and classes on job readiness.
Addiction Treatment For Pregnant Women With Co-Occurring Disorders
Nearly 8 million Americans suffer from a dual diagnosis, which is when a person has an addiction and a mental health condition at the same time. Women who are pregnant and struggling with addiction are at an increased risk for co-occurring disorders, including depression.
When a person suffers from a dual diagnosis like addiction and anxiety, they struggle with feelings of excessive worry and panic. Once a person stops using drugs, they may experience an increase in these symptoms.
Dual diagnosis treatment tracks empower patients to learn about their co-occurring disorders and take control of how they approach their recovery. Co-occurring disorders can make treatment more challenging. Fortunately, rehab programs for pregnant women are designed with these services in mind.
How To Find Alcohol And Drug Rehab Programs For Pregnant Women
Vertava Health provide an array of treatment services at locations across the U.S. In addition to specialized treatment programs for women who are pregnant, we also offer trauma counseling, mindfulness training, and expressive arts therapy.
Our treatment centers are outfitted to help patients not only survive but to thrive in recovery. Vertava Health’ compassionate staff help patients create meaningful lives both during and after their treatment stay.
For more information on alcohol and drug rehab programs for pregnant women, contact an Vertava Health treatment specialist today.