EXPECTANT MOTHERS AND ADDICTION
- September 19, 2018
Pregnancy is a joyous time for women, but growing a baby is a difficult process, as well. Doctors might instruct mothers to abstain from consuming foods, beverages, or medications that could potentially harm the unborn child. Nevertheless, some factors still remain outside a physician’s control. The sad truth is that some of these mothers are alcoholics, drug addicts, or substance abusers, and their struggle becomes their baby’s struggle. More often than not, an unborn fetus will experience the same detrimental effects (sometimes on a larger scale) as its mother and could face severe trauma or fatal deformities as the result of exposure to toxic chemicals.
Research has shown that consuming drugs or alcohol during pregnancy can directly harm the fetus. A mother who consumes these deadly substances can suffer from damage to the lungs, heat, and liver, issues that can ultimately be passed down to the baby. Mothers who smoke during their pregnancies can increase risks of tragic incidences like stillbirth, infant death syndrome, infant mortality, breathing difficulties, and premature birth. Similarly, alcoholic mothers can potentially induce fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, which can lead to long-term psychological and growth issues. Meanwhile, mothers who consume cocaine can produce “crack babies,” children who are born with severe behavioral disorders and a shrunken head (a sign of a low IQ).
On an even grimmer note, studies have also shown that the use of particularly lethal drugs (most notably opioids) can induce a disorder called neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a variant of drug withdrawal in adult patients. Infants diagnosed with NAS can suffer from severe birth defects and physical deformities or can potentially die.
In recent years, health experts have stressed the importance of withdrawal programs for mothers and their babies. One study showed that a combination of prescription methadone, prenatal observation, and comprehensive treatment plans can reverse many deadly side effects of heroin addiction/abuse. However, doctors have determined that buprenorphine (a drug used in the treatment of opioid addiction) can suppress some symptoms of NAS in newborns and is less addictive than methadone. Overall, intervention is the key to helping pregnant women overcome addiction and potentially save their child from a painful future.
Remember that there is always hope for you. Drugs and alcohol do not have control over your life. You do. If you are thinking of starting a family but also have an addiction problem or if you know a woman in this situation, get in touch with Asana Recovery. Counselors and healthcare experts can walk you through every step of the detox and withdrawal process and help guide you to a happier, healthier, and freer lifestyle. While it might not be an easy road to travel, we promise to help you every step of the way. Take the first step to keep you and your unborn child safe.
The time for you to take back control of your life is now. If you are interested in one of our residential treatment or supervised detoxification/withdrawal programs, we are ready and waiting to speak with you at your disclosure. Call Asana now at (949) 438-4504 to learn how to overcome your addiction troubles today.