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Addiction During Pregnancy

Table of Content

Table of Content

Addiction treatment during pregnancy can make all the difference between giving birth to a healthy baby, having a baby with severe complications or losing a child. Many pregnant women fear they may lose rights to their unborn baby if they seek help for substance abuse. However, it’s better to receive treatment for addiction than to have serious complications during pregnancy or even harm the physical and cognitive development of the baby. Aside from that, a life of alcohol and drugs can expose a person to crime, violence and diseases.

But despite the risks of pregnancy addiction, statistics show that many women continue to use alcohol and drugs when they’re pregnant. A 2013 survey conducted by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that:

  • More than 5% of pregnant women between the ages of 15 and 44 were using drugs, as compared to 11% of non-pregnant women.
  • About 9% of women reported using alcohol while pregnant.
  • Approximately 2.3% of pregnant women reported consuming more than five alcoholic drinks in a day.

Effects of Drugs on Pregnancy

As the fetus develops, nutrients and oxygen are delivered from the mother to the baby through the placenta. The placenta sustains the growing fetus from conception to birth. Harmful toxins, such as those found in alcohol, heroin, marijuana, cocaine and other drugs, can also pass through the placenta to the baby. These compounds can destroy the placenta, reducing its efficacy in supplying nutrients and oxygen to the baby.

Substance use can disrupt the healthy development of the fetus as well. A Merck Manual report suggests that women who consumed alcohol while pregnant were up to 50% more likely to have a miscarriage or give birth to a baby with a lower weight. 

Also, a child may develop neonatal abstinence syndrome and experience severe withdrawal symptoms within 24 hours after birth. As they grow, such babies may also be susceptible to developmental delays, behavioral disorders and learning problems. 

Seeking treatment for drug addiction during pregnancy reduces the risk of:

  • Placental abruption
  • Miscarriage
  • Premature labor
  • Stillbirth

The Connection Between Alcohol Use and Infant Death

Alcohol intake during pregnancy can have severe consequences for the fetus. According to the Official Journal of the Academy of Pediatrics, there is a strong correlation between infant death and alcohol use. Babies who were born to mothers who used alcohol the first year after birth had a 50% higher risk of death than babies born to non-alcoholic women. Additionally, 15% of SID cases were associated with maternal use of alcohol.

Substance Abuse Treatment During Pregnancy

Seeking help for substance abuse during pregnancy benefits both mother and unborn baby in many ways. Aside from reducing the risk of placental abruption, miscarriage, stillbirth and birth complications, comprehensive addiction treatment can restore the mother’s physical and psychological health. During rehab, the body is flushed of all harmful toxins. Women with nutrition and hydration issues can significantly benefit from the nutrients and fluids they receive for a healthy pregnancy.

Furthermore, pregnant women in rehab receive 100% psychosocial support from therapists, nurses, doctors and other social workers. They’re also referred to affordable prenatal services from pediatricians, nutritionists and obstetricians. After they give birth, they may also be assisted with transportation, housing, childcare and ongoing counseling.

At Gateway, we have several treatment options for pregnant women battling addiction. If you want to learn more about addiction treatment for pregnant women, get in touch with one of our qualified therapists at 877-352-9566, or reach out to us on our contact page to get help on how to manage addiction during pregnancy. 

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