Using + Pregnant

By January 7, 2021pregnancy

Many women become pregnant while actively using drugs. This can cause a wide range of emotions including fear, shame, and hopelessness. If you are currently struggling with substance abuse, you may be considering abortion, wondering if you can carry/parent your baby, or considering an adoption plan. Whatever your situation, there is a path forward.

Risks

Most know that use of illicit drugs (or alcohol and prescription drug abuse) while pregnant can have negative outcomes for infants. A woman’s placenta is designed to easily pass nutrients to growing baby but passes illicit substances easily as well. This significantly increases the risk for still birth as well as other defects and cognitive delays.

More common than you think

About 1 in 20 women take street drugs during pregnancy. These include cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, marijuana, meth, and the abuse of prescription drugs. In general, drug use is pretty common in women of reproductive age. SAMHSA reports that 30% have problematic alcohol use, 25% smoke cigarettes, and 11% use illicit substances. 

If you are one of these women, you are not alone.

There’s hope + help

Pregnancy has proven to be a strong motivator for abstinence. According to varying studies, 50%-85% of women achieve sobriety while pregnant. You can be one of those women too!

According to Guttmacher Insitute, residential treatment in a specialized pregnancy rehab program is the most effective approach to achieve abstinence. This will allow a customized plan pending your drug of choice and detox needs. They can also prescribe and monitor drugs like methadone or buprenorphine which help reduce your dependence on opioids and heroin. This is important because quitting suddenly can cause grave problems for your baby.

You may fear the repercussions if you seek treatment for your drug or alcohol use, but your medical provider should be in your corner! They can refer you for treatment. Plus legal charges or custody issues are likely to be alleviated or lessened if you pursue sobriety rather than it being reported while in the hospital delivering.

Giving birth during recovery is much safer for you and baby than while actively using. You can find a provider through the SAMHSA locator or seek treatment in state at Chrysallis House or Freedom House, both which specialize in treating pregnant women without shame.

Rikki Devlin for the Missoulian

After years of not using, I had a relapse with meth, got arrested for violating my parole and went through treatment. I had amazing family support but being the only child with an addiction, I wanted my best friend back — drugs and ended up getting pregnant and getting back on methadone. I had an amazing baby boy and was so lucky he didn’t have to go through withdrawal from the methadone…Every day I wake up with him is the best day ever. Some nights are really rough. But I would rather have rough nights with him than nights without him. I have an incredible purpose and will do everything I can to be the best mother for (my son).

https://missoulian.com/messages-from-women-who-used-drugs-during-pregnancy/article_452b51be-e463-5a8a-927d-88e44cb48561.html

We can help

Whether you are seeking to terminate you pregnancy, find a treatment facility, confirm if you are even pregnant, learn about adoption, take parenting classes- Clarity can help with whatever questions you have. There’s hope and a way forward.

Make an appointment with us today and learn more about your options. We can’t wait to meet you!

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