Substance use disorder is a serious illness and it can happen to anyone, including pregnant women. A recent study shows about five percent of pregnant women use one or more addictive substances, and this can have severe health consequences for their unborn children. This can happen because what the mother consumes is pass on to the fetus through the placenta.
Even with knowing the health risks, some pregnant women refuse to seek treatment because they are afraid of being judged and shamed by health providers. Another reason is that they are not aware of the kind of medical care they need or that it’s available in rehab facilities. There are treatment centers that specialize in pregnancy drug rehab treatments for pregnant women with substance use disorder. In Florida, some Fort Myers drug rehab facilities offer treatment programs that assist patients with addiction recovery as well as preparations for becoming parents.
Health Risks for Pregnant Women and Their Children
There are numerous health risks related to substance abuse that affect not only mother, but also their unborn children. The extent and severity of the effects of consuming drugs while pregnant are dependent on several factors, such as: the types of drugs used, the frequency of consumption, and the duration of substance use.
Women who have substance abuse problems may develop the following conditions over time:
- Cardiovascular disease – The long-term use of cocaine and methamphetamines may lead to arrhythmia, coronary artery disease, and heart attack.
- Kidney damage – Drugs like heroin and ketamine may cause kidney failure.
- Respiratory problems – Using opioids slows down an individual’s breathing and prolonged abuse may lead to chronic respiratory diseases. In some cases, taking large amounts of opioids may result in a person completely stop breathing.
- Overdose – Consuming large amounts or multiple types of drugs can lead to overdose.
On the other hand, continued substance abuse can endanger the unborn baby. The common risks are:
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
- Developmental defects
- Small head size
- Sudden infant death syndrome
Babies born to women who have substance use disorder may also develop other health conditions including:
- Heart problems – Ingesting certain drugs during pregnancy may lead to heart defects in the fetus. The baby may develop septal defects or a hole in their heart.
- Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) – This is a condition wherein a baby experiences symptoms of withdrawal at birth. Research shows this commonly happens in babies of women who abused opioids.
Comprehensive Pregnancy Drug Rehab Treatment Plans
Pregnant women suffering from substance abuse must seek treatment immediately. In most cases, medical professionals recommend a comprehensive inpatient treatment plan, which includes medical, psychological, and social care.
- Medical Care – Before entering a treatment facility, patients undergo a medical evaluation to assess their drug history, mental health, and medical history. This will help medical professionals create a treatment plan that will address their specific needs. Once they complete this, patients may need to undergo a detoxification process, depending on their level of substance abuse. Since the health of the mother and child are at stake, detox will be conducted under the supervision of a licensed physician. The patient may be advised pharmacological treatment to relieve symptoms of withdrawal, especially if they have an opioid dependence. In addition, patients also receive regular prenatal checkups and care while in rehab.
- Psychological Care – After the physical aspect of treatment has been addressed, patients will participate in evidence-based therapies to supplement their existing medical care. Patients may need to attend several therapy sessions designed to support their recovery, including:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – A common treatment for substance abuse, patients participate in individual and group therapy sessions where they can explore the cause of their substance use. Here they are also taught how to manage stressful situations and deal with negative emotions in a healthy manner.
- Twelve-Step Facilitation Therapy – This can also be in the form of individual or group therapy sessions. The treatment follows the 12-step program, which outlines a course of actions to help overcome addiction.
- Pregnancy Counseling – Pregnant women may experience mood swings brought on by the fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone. Counseling may help manage the symptoms like sadness and anxiety as well as concerns about how drug abuse affects their pregnancy.
- Family Therapy – In some cases, the patients’ family or partner are invited to discuss any issues that may affect their recovery.
- Social Care – Patients also receive social support through parenting trainings and other life skill classes to equip them with the essential knowledge they will need as parents. To support their long-term recovery, doctors and counselors may recommend an aftercare plan.
There are pregnancy drug rehab treatment plans for pregnant women who want to get better and ensure their children’s health. They can attain a substance-free life through comprehensive care and a supportive environment. The best way to do this is to seek immediate treatment from certified health professionals.