Drug and Alcohol Detox for Pregnant Women
Often times, substance addicted women who become pregnant will quit using for the sake of their child, and accepting the decision to get sober is the right decision to make. However, it’s more critical for pregnant women than any other demographic to seek professional medical assisted drug and alcohol detox and treatment. The abrupt cessation of drug and alcohol use can be dangerous for anyone, but it is especially dangerous for a pregnant woman and puts the unborn child at great risk.
On one hand, addiction is a vicious cycle and continuing to use drugs or alcohol is dangerous and destructive to the mother and the unborn child; On the other hand, withdrawals can be equally dangerous to the mother and unborn child. Pregnant women with substance abuse disorders have many considerations to keep in mind such as fear, judgment, persecution, social implications, and potentially losing custody. Realizing you need help, asking for help, and successfully getting through detox and treatment for drug or alcohol addiction are difficult decisions to make, however, making the decision to get sober is unquestionably the right path to take.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that as many as 1 out of 10 pregnant women report alcohol use. Fetal alcohol syndrome consists a variety of physical and neurodevelopmental problems caused when the fetus is exposed to alcohol. Problems can include below average height and weight, small head size, abnormal facial features, Central Nervous System damage, poor coordination, low intelligence, behavioral or social problems, auditory and visual problems, premature birth and even miscarriage. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that substance abuse can double or even triple the risk of stillbirth.
When a pregnant woman uses drugs, it can pass through the placenta to the baby, causing the baby to become dependent and subsequently experience withdrawal symptoms to varying degrees based on the type or combination of substance, the method of use, the duration and frequency of use, the stage of addiction, as well as the tolerance level at the time of cessation. Expecting mothers who use drugs or alcohol pass on their substance dependence and addiction to their babies in a phenomenon called neonatal alcohol syndrome.
Options for detox generally include managing withdrawal symptoms with medication-assisted treatment — in a professional medical setting — though drugs like suboxone, naloxone and methadone, which require medical supervision and daily monitoring of the fetus.