Pregnancy is the most beautiful phase of a woman’s life. Even though a woman goes through lots of physical and emotional changes, the joy of bringing a new life is worth all the pain and trouble. Pregnant women are very careful and eat and exercise as per their doctor’s advice. In such case, if they need addiction treatment, they may be a little scared about asking anyone due to any complications or risks it may cause to the baby.
However, as of today, this concern has been dealt with, and there are many substance abuse rehab programs especially for pregnant women. The programs are carefully designed keeping in mind the unique needs of these women.
Why Should Substance Abuse and Addiction be Treated Even During Pregnancy?
A pregnant woman already goes through a lot of physical and mental changes throughout the process and these addictions can only make her feel more stressed out and mentally unstable. This can directly result in health risks to the fetus too. Some of the ill effects of addiction can be – behavioral problems in the baby after birth, birth defects, cognitive development issues, drug dependency in the baby, low baby birth weight, premature delivery, small head size, still baby, sudden infant death syndrome, or even miscarriage.
More serious and dangerous complications can occur from the abuse of certain substances especially opioids. This condition is called neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). The syndrome occurs when the would-be mother gets addicted to certain drugs like opioids and heroin, which in turn reach the fetus through the placenta and eventually makes the child also crave for it. When the baby is born, even if he is not fed with these drugs, there are chances that he undergoes some withdrawal symptoms, especially if the mother is consuming these during the last few weeks of pregnancy. This is an alarming syndrome and can result in low birth weight of the baby, trouble during feeding, breathing problems, seizures, or even end of life.
There are a lot of precautions to be taken during addiction treatment for a pregnant woman. However, there are some tried and tested methods that can help these women fight their addiction. These can include group or individual therapy, counseling, and behavioral therapy.
- Counseling can help the pregnant woman seek advice from a specialist and establish recovery goals and track their progress. They can understand the cause and work towards fixing the substance abuse issue from scratch.
- Group therapy builds the self-esteem in women as they also see others who have been through the same issue but are recovering well. This will also promote a socially amicable environment and support. Individual therapy, on the other hand, allows a pregnant woman to help reverse the effects of the substance abuse, and address any past incidents that led to stress or other conditions leading to addiction.
- Behavioral therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy(CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) help the patient recover by treating the behavior and bringing back a positive and fresh mindset so that they get a new and confident outlook towards themselves and the yet-to-be-born baby.
Work with the specialist, and they will determine the best treatment for your situation.
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist, mother. Taking part in procedures of social adaptation of the foster children in new families. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the motherhow.com project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who are planning, expecting, and already having babies.