When you’re pregnant and a mother-to-be, you’re not just eating for one – you’re eating for two – because everything that you ingest affects your fetus. If you smoke, drink alcohol, or use drugs while pregnant, dangerous chemicals can pass on to the fetus, impacting your unborn child in various ways. Unfortunately, as aware as they may be of the dangers of using drugs while pregnant, many women struggle with addiction before conceiving, and this prior history of drug use can make it difficult to quit. If you’re expecting and struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, our Massachusetts rehab for pregnant women can help.
What Happens If You Test Positive for Drugs During Pregnancy?
When a pregnant woman tests positive for drugs, it can have significant implications for both her and the unborn child. The response to a positive drug test can vary by jurisdiction and healthcare facility but may include the following consequences:
- Medical assessment: When a pregnant woman tests positive for drugs, healthcare providers typically conduct a thorough assessment to determine the extent of drug use, the type of drugs involved, and any potential health risks to both the mother and the baby.
- Counseling and education: Expectant mothers who test positive for drugs are usually offered counseling and education about the potential risks and harms associated with substance use during pregnancy, as well as information about the importance of prenatal care and the benefits of a drug-free pregnancy.
- Referral to treatment: Healthcare providers may refer pregnant women who test positive for drugs to substance abuse treatment programs, which can provide specialized care and support for individuals struggling with addiction. The goal is to help the mother achieve and maintain sobriety during pregnancy.
- Monitoring and support: Pregnant women who test positive for drugs may be closely monitored by healthcare providers to assess the health and development of the fetus. This may involve more frequent prenatal check-ups, ultrasounds, and other medical tests.
- Child Protective Services (CPS) involvement: In some cases, if the drug use poses a significant risk to the child’s well-being, Child Protective Services (CPS) or a similar agency may become involved. They may conduct assessments and, if necessary, take steps to protect the child’s safety and well-being.
- Legal implications: In some jurisdictions, there may be legal consequences for drug use during pregnancy, such as child endangerment charges. The severity of these consequences can vary by location and the circumstances of the case.
- Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS): Prenatal exposure to certain drugs can increase the risk of neonatal abstinence syndrome in newborns. NAS is a withdrawal syndrome that affects babies born to mothers who used opioids or other addictive substances during pregnancy. Infants with NAS may require medical treatment and extended hospital stays.
It is essential for expectant mothers who are using drugs to seek medical care and support. Honest and open communication with healthcare providers is crucial to ensure the best possible outcomes for both the mother and the unborn child. Prenatal care and addiction treatment can significantly reduce the potential risks associated with substance use during pregnancy and support a healthier pregnancy and childbirth.
Effects of Using Drugs While Pregnant
Many factors play into the risks of using drugs or alcohol while pregnant. These include the drug being abused, how often the substance is used, and at what point during the pregnancy the substance was introduced.
These risks can often be avoided with the proper addiction treatment for pregnant women and oversight by a reputable doctor. In general, common effects of substance abuse during pregnancy include:
- Placental abruption
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
- Development defects in the fetus
- Increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
Additionally, many babies who are born to women who have abused alcohol and drugs may develop additional health issues as well, including:
- Heart problems: Consuming alcohol and taking certain drugs during pregnancy can cause heart defects, particularly septal defects (a hole in the heart). Most infants born with heart defects die within the first year of life.
- Infections, such as hepatitis C and HIV: These viruses are often transmitted by people who use and share needles when they use drugs intravenously, such as injecting heroin. Viruses can be passed on to the unborn baby during pregnancy or at birth, which can increase the likelihood of premature death, among other problems.
- Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS): This syndrome can occur when a baby is born to a mother with a substance use disorder (most commonly, opioid addiction) and develops withdrawal symptoms after birth.
- Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs): These disorders are associated with a range of cognitive and developmental difficulties resulting from alcohol use during pregnancy, and they usually last for life. Adults can even show signs of fetal alcohol syndrome.
Furthermore, other alcohol and drug-related developmental repercussions can become significant issues later in life, such as behavior and learning deficits and slower growth rates.1 Alcohol can cause developmental defects and health problems in a baby if the mother consumes it during pregnancy.
Alcohol abuse during pregnancy is the leading preventable cause of developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, and birth defects in children in the U.S. What’s more, women who use drugs are more likely to receive delayed, limited, or no prenatal care at all, which could potentially lead to other complications for the growing fetus.
The sooner an expecting woman can find a rehab for pregnant women, the better chance her baby has at being born full-term without complications.
Our Drug Rehab for Pregnant Women
Addiction is a chronic disease that affects millions of people in the U.S., including pregnant women. Research shows that more than 17 million people struggle with drinking, and almost 25 million adults abuse illegal and prescription substances.1 No one plans to become addicted to drugs or alcohol, but you can choose to get help.
As is usual with clients who are not pregnant, the first step of treatment for pregnant women at our residential rehab in Massachusetts is medically supervised detox. Our detox for pregnant women is a form of care in which the individual is slowly weaned off drugs or alcohol.
This is an essential step in the recovery process because it ensures that our soon-to-be mothers and their fetuses are safe and healthy during withdrawals. Withdrawal symptoms can be highly uncomfortable, painful, and even life-threatening, and when pregnancy is added to the mix, the risk of relapse and other complications runs high.
Additionally, the risk of miscarriage is high when detoxing from drugs while pregnant, which further emphasizes the need for medical care. Our Massachusetts treatment center offers a safe drug detox for pregnancy that decreases the risk of miscarriage and relapse and increases the likelihood of getting clean.
In addition to our pregnant women’s detox program, our rehab for pregnant women also offers counseling, individual and group therapy, psychotherapy, and aftercare services to help clients get and stay sober. There are not many rehabs for pregnant women or treatment centers that are equipped to treat clients of this nature, but thankfully, our Northeast addictions treatment center can help.
Contact Our Rehab for Pregnant Women Today
With the help of various medical experts and addiction specialists, we can offer women who are struggling with drug or alcohol use the safest and most efficient forms of treatment and detox while pregnant. Because both addiction and pregnancy are delicate situations, it is crucial for treatment programs for pregnant addicts to offer care that takes both the woman and the fetus into account.
Prenatal care, therapy, life skills workshops, job training, and parenting classes are some of the many features of our rehab programs for pregnant women. Our goal is not only to help clients get clean but also to help them learn how to care for themselves and their families while developing new skills that are conducive to their recovery.
To learn more about our prenatal addiction treatment, contact Clearbrook’s pregnancy addiction hotline today.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism – Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help