Prescription Drugs During Pregnancy
In the United States, a woman seeks emergency care every 3 minutes for prescription drug abuse. In 2014, SAMHSA reported that 4.6 million women above 18 were misusing prescription drugs. The fast-growing abuse of prescription painkillers has not spared maternity wards. The number of babies born with prescription painkiller withdrawal symptoms has risen sharply over the past decade or so. Commonly abused prescription drugs include pain relievers such as Percocet, OxyContin, and Vicodin, CNS depressants such as Xanax, Valium, and Ativan, and stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin. In the decade or so following the year 2000, there was a fivefold increase in opiate use during pregnancy. The risk of stillbirth is two to three times higher in women who take prescription pain relievers. About 13,500 babies are born with neonatal abstinence syndrome due to opiate withdrawal every year in the United States. Potential harm to the fetus includes low birth weight, preterm birth, and fetal death. Opiate exposure during fetal life can cause birth defects such as spina bifida and heart anomalies. Stimulants increase the risk of brain and heart defects and cleft palate or cleft lip in the baby.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are a set of conditions that occur in babies that were exposed to alcohol during their mothers pregnancy. FASD is characterized by growth problems and irreversible brain damage. The severity of fetal alcohol syndrome varies from child to child and depends on the duration and amount of maternal alcohol abuse.
One in 10 pregnant women reports alcohol use in the United States.
The CDC fact sheet on alcohol and pregnancy states that 3.3 million women in the United States are at risk of exposing their babies to alcohol.
Factors That Increase the Risk of FAS Include:
- Heavy and frequent drinking
- A family history of alcoholism
In the 1980s and 1990s, the prevalence of FAS in America was estimated at 2 cases per 1,000 births. The CDC reports that assessment of school-going children has revealed a prevalence of 6 to 9 cases of FAS per 1,000 children. A recent study on more than 13,000 children in four U.S. communities found that fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are present in up to 5 percent of first graders.
When The Mother Has A Heroin Addiction
A heroin addiction is dangerous for a pregnant mother. She runs the risk of heart or lung infection from sharing needs. She could also develop kidney disease or liver disease. She may suffer from respiratory failure, or even slip into a coma.
Babies of heroin addicted mothers could be stillborn. Their risk of NAS and SIDS dramatically increase. Placental abruption is fairly common, as is low birth weight and premature birth.
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Drug Or Alcohol Abuse In New Mothers
The period right after giving birth is a tough time for any woman, even under the best of circumstances. High amounts of stress, abrupt hormonal changes, and postpartum medical conditions can lead to mental health disorders, like depression. This risk can make new mothers particularly vulnerable to substance use disorders. Many women manage to abstain from drugs or alcohol during pregnancy, but 80% of new mothers experience a sobriety setback after giving birth.
Developmental And Behavioral Problems
Many women who use alcohol or drugs during pregnancy are poly-substance abusers. Maternal substance abuse is closely linked to child development. Among the effects of drugs during pregnancy are many different physical, behavioral, developmental, cognitive, social, academic, and vocational problems.
According to one study, more than 30 percent of women who abused methamphetamines during pregnancy reported having a child with a physical or mental disability.
Prenatal marijuana use is associated with a significant increase in impulsiveness, hyperactivity, inattention, and delinquency in children aged 10. Prenatal exposure to MDMA and other recreational drugs is associated with poor mental and motor development in infants at one year of age. The severity of the disorder is heavily dose-dependent.
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War On Drugs Leads To ‘crack Baby’ Myth
In 1997, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that a Waukesha juvenile court lacked authority to detain a pregnant woman at a hospital until childbirth on the basis of drug use. Not long after, a bipartisan group of lawmakers gave it that very authority in Act 292, which gave “unborn children” from zygotes to embryos full human rights the only state to do so.
Bonnie Ladwig, a Republican representative from Racine who introduced the bill, testified: “Cocaine babies and children with fetal alcohol syndrome can be seen as abused children.”
Health professionals warned the fear of punishment would discourage pregnant women from seeking prenatal care and substance use treatment. Some suggested the law would incentivize women to get abortions to avoid detention.
And analysts and even one of the co-sponsors doubted its constitutionality. The nonpartisan Wisconsin Legislative Council and Legislative Reference Bureau advised that the liberty and privacy rights enshrined in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey would likely outweigh the states interest in “unborn human life before fetal viability,” according to the Collaborative for Reproductive Equity at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Writing in her book “Policing the Womb,” Goodwin, the law professor, says the media used anecdotal reports to fuel hysteria over so-called “crack babies” an ostensible “bio-underclass” doomed to lifelong suffering.
Substance Use During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
The use of tobacco, alcohol, and prescription or illicit drugs can have severe consequences. For example, using any of these substances can make you two to three times more likely to have a stillbirth.
If an infant survives after the mothers drug use, the baby can show withdrawal symptoms at birth. Symptoms of drug withdrawal in a newborn can include, but arent limited to:
- Blotchy skin tone
- Abnormal sucking reflex
If a breastfeeding mother takes drugs, they will pass through their breast milk and into their child. Therefore, you should never take any drugs while breastfeeding.
If youve taken drugs, dont breastfeed your child for at least 24 hours.11
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Biden Administration Offers Plan To Get Addiction
Pregnant women are more likely to die of a drug overdose than the average woman of childbearing age, but less likely to be accepted for medication-based treatment.
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The Biden administration will use federal courts and health programs to expand the use of medication to treat substance use disorders in pregnant women, according to a report by the White House released Friday. The plan is part of the administrations broader effort to combat a drug crisis that now kills more than 100,000 Americans annually.
Under the new initiative, the Justice Department, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Indian Health Service will be responsible for improving womens access to medicines like buprenorphine and methadone. These treatments have been controversial, but are increasingly being embraced as a scientifically proven way to reduce dependency and save lives.
Opioid use disorder among pregnant women has more than quadrupled in recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is associated with low birth weight, preterm labor and miscarriage. Pregnant women are more likely to die of a drug overdose than the average woman of childbearing age, but less likely to be accepted for appointments with buprenorphine providers.
Addiction Help For Pregnant Women
Although anyone who struggles with a substance use disorder should seek treatment, it is especially important for women who are or may soon become pregnant. Some treatment centers have programs specifically for women.
If you are currently pregnant, make sure any programs you enroll in are able to safely care for pregnant women. We are available 24/7 to discuss treatment options available for pregnant women at Laguna and other American Addiction Centers facilities. Give us a call at to discuss the options.
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Fentanyl Overdoses: What To Know
Devastating losses.Drug overdose deaths, largely caused by the synthetic opioid drug fentanyl, reached record highs in the United States in 2021. Heres what you should know to keep your loved ones safe:
Understand fentanyls effects.Fentanyl is a potent and fast-acting drug, two qualities that also make it highly addictive. A small quantity goes a long way, so its easy to suffer an overdose. With fentanyl, there is only a short window of time to intervene and save a persons life during an overdose.
Stick to licensed pharmacies.Prescription drugs sold online or by unlicensed dealers marketed as OxyContin, Vicodin and Xanax are often laced with fentanyl. Only take pills that were prescribed by your doctor and came from a licensed pharmacy.
Talk to your loved ones.The best way to prevent fentanyl use is to educate your loved ones, including teens, about it. Explain what fentanyl is and that it can be found in pills bought online or from friends. Aim to establish an ongoing dialogue in short spurts rather than one long, formal conversation.
Learn how to spot an overdose.When someone overdoses from fentanyl, breathing slows and their skin often turns a bluish hue. If you think someone is overdosing, call 911 right away. If youre concerned that a loved one could be exposed to fentanyl, you may want to buy naloxone, a medicine that can rapidly reverse an opioid overdose and is often available at local pharmacies without prescription.
Choosing A Rehab For Pregnant Women
If you are struggling with addiction and pregnancy, you are not alone, and effective, non-judgmental resources and treatment options are available to you. By calling Sunrise House Treatment Center at , you can speak to a compassionate admissions navigator who can help you learn about the treatment admissions process and answer your questions about ways to pay for rehab, including information about paying for rehab with health insurance. Dont wait any longer. Get the help you need and deserve today.
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Substance Use During Pregnancy
Tobacco, alcohol and drugs can have harmful effects on anyone’s health. When a pregnant or nursing woman uses these substances, her baby also is exposed to them, for all substances cross the placenta through the umbilical cord and enter into the baby’s bloodstream.
While pregnant, it is best to eat well, stay healthy and avoid ingesting anything that might be harmful to the mother’s or baby’s health. A health care provider can give you more information about these issues.
Which Drugs Have The Most Serious Consequences For The Fetus
Taking almost any drug during pregnancy can have serious consequences for the fetus. For instance, babies who are exposed to cocaine have a tendency to have smaller heads that indicate a lower IQ. Cocaine-exposed babies have a higher risk of birth defects that impact the urinary tract or heart. Cocaine may also cause a stroke in an unborn fetus, resulting in brain damage or even death.
Using cocaine or methamphetamine — also called speed, Tina, crank, or ice — increases the risk of miscarriage early in the pregnancy. Later in the pregnancy, these illicit drugs may cause pre-term labor and low birth weight, as well as babies who are irritable and have feeding difficulties.
Pregnant women who smoke marijuana face a higher risk of premature birth and low birth weight. Smoking pot may cause developmental delays in the child. And after delivery, babies who have been exposed to marijuana seem to undergo withdrawal symptoms with excessive crying and trembling.
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Addiction Treatment For New Moms
New mothers are going to be very busy taking care of their newborn babies. Because of this, and sometimes due to fears of losing custody of their child, it can be difficult for some mothers to seek help from addiction treatment programs. Many rehabilitation facilities help address these concerns by offering programs for mothers with young children.
New mothers can find inpatient and outpatient programs that cater to their specific needs. Like other programs, treatment for new mothers can be done with individual, family or group therapy. These programs often offer childcare services for the time that mothers spend in treatment. Parenting classes and child healthcare may also be available.
Risks And Potential Effects Of Substance Use During Pregnancy
Tobacco, alcohol and drug use by the mother can directly impact the fetus. This is true for both legally prescribed medications such as benzodiazepines as well as illicit drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines. Recreational substances like marijuana and alcohol can also impact an unborn baby.1 The impact varies and is based on several variables, including the type of substance used, amount used, and factors specific to the mother.1
Risks associated with drug or alcohol use during pregnancy can range in severity and can include:2
- Sudden infant death syndrome .
- Neonatal abstinence syndrome.
- Placental abruption.
Additional medical conditions that occur with addiction can complicate pregnancy. For example, mothers who ingest opioids or other drugs intravenously are at risk of contracting infectious diseases such as HIV. Additional medical conditions associated with addiction can include:3
- Blood and tissue infections.
Risks and Effects of Alcohol Use During Pregnancy.
The effects of alcohol use during pregnancy can lead to short-term and long-term problems for the unborn baby. Common risks of alcohol use during pregnancy include:2
- Low birth weight.
- The development of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders .
- Cognitive and developmental delays.
Risks and Effects of Marijuana Use During Pregnancy.
The impact of marijuana use during pregnancy includes:5
- Lower birth weight.
- Increased risk of stillbirth.
Risks and Effects of Cocaine Use During Pregnancy.
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Find Help For Addiction Today At Recovery First
It is crucial that pregnant women struggling with substance use receive treatment and as soon as possible. Find the help, support, and path to sobriety you are looking for at our drug rehab in Miami. We can help you navigate the treatment admissions process, from assessing the best first steps for you to helping verify your insurance coverage for rehab and determining how to pay for rehab. Call our helpline today.
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What To Be Aware Of With Addiction Recovery And Pregnancy
What a pregnant mother who is also a recovering substance abuser does need to be aware of however is the threat of relapse. A threat of relapse is something that is always present and always possible, and it is something that should be watched out for at all costs. True enough, relapse can come at any time and when one least expects it. Experiencing a relapse though in addiction recovery and pregnancy would make the situation much, much worse indeed.
When one is addicted to drugs and alcohol, one really is in a bad place. When one beats addiction, to a degree one is still in a bad place. However, one is in a place that is not nearly as bad, joust concerning and potentially worrisome. This condition involves a constant state of vigilance and watchfulness over oneself that necessitates a constant guard over ones sobriety. Relapse, , is something that occurs in about forty to fifty percent of all recovered addicts.
Sobriety needs to be cherished on and on even after one does complete rehab, and this is what needs to be working toward and what needs to be guarded, especially for a soon-to-be mother. Relapse can severely affect the pregnant mother herself, and her unborn child. Its one thing to willingly experience a relapse and harm yourself in doing so, but it is a wholly different crime when one involves an unborn child in it too.
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Motherhood Is An Exciting And Challenging Experience Filled With Opportunities For Growth And Learning For Some Women However Motherhood Is Complicated By Personal Struggles Like Drug Or Alcohol Addiction
The gestational period and the first few months of life are the most critical times for a childs development. During these times of major growth and formation, an infants development is greatly impacted by environmental factors and the health of their mother. Drug or alcohol use during pregnancy and breastfeeding can have devastating consequences for unborn and newborn babies, some of which can affect them for the rest of their lives.
Options For Moms In Recovery Or Seeking Treatment
For their own health, and the health of their current and future children, mothers, and moms-to-be need effective help for substance use disorders. They need to be treated for co-occurring mental health conditions at the same time their addiction is treated. This process can be difficult to undertake when raising young children. Fortunately, there are treatment options catered specifically to new or expecting mothers.
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Your 3 Options If You Are Pregnant And Addicted To Drugs
If you are pregnant and addicted to drugs, alcohol or other harmful substances, know that you dont have to take this journey alone. There are resources to guide you to a better future for you and your baby.
Im pregnant and a heroin addict what about the baby?
Im pregnant and addicted to drugs or alcohol. What can I do?
What are my options if Im pregnant and addicted?
If youre asking these questions, you have likely found yourself in an incredibly difficult situation. An unexpected pregnancy can be overwhelming on its own but, when youre simultaneously battling addiction, your circumstances can seem impossible.
Whatever your situation, remember there is help out there for you and your unborn baby.
First, know that you are not alone. The CDC reported that 1 in 33 pregnant women reported binge drinking in 2013 and, in the same year, TEDS reported that about 4 percent of pregnant women between the ages of 14 and 44 entered substance abuse treatment while they were pregnant.
Being pregnant and addicted is a serious situation to be in. Below, youll find some resources and information to help you get the assistance you need.