Detoxing When Pregnant
Motherhood and pregnancy are very important issues for women. That is why addressing the need for drug and alcohol rehab or detox for pregnant women is so essential. Substance use disorders can have a profound effect on the unborn making medical detox a key resource for dealing with various severity levels of withdrawal. Women who are addicted to alcohol or drugs and that are pregnant must recognize that the prenatal and postnatal effects can be extremely detrimental to both mother and child.
Detoxing during pregnancy presents certain challenges including a variety of withdrawal symptoms. This is especially true when talking about opioid detoxification. Because opioids directly affect the neurological and chemical systems within the body, withdrawal symptoms can be frightening and even painful. Symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal include the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Irregular heartbeat or breathing
- Pain in the abdomen
- Fatigue or a feeling of weakness
- Sweating, chills or hot and cold flashes
While these symptoms are the most common there can be other less frequent cases where withdrawal symptoms are even more extreme. In this situation, seizures and convulsions may be a part of the withdrawal process. Keeping these facts in mind it is important to understand why medical detox is the best option for pregnant women. Medical experts advise that pregnant women seek out professional treatment anytime they make the decision to discontinue the use of any kind of addictive substance including opioids.
Substance Abuse Includes Outwardly Noticeable Signs
The potential or risk of an infant having serious birth defects is substantially increased when a pregnancy is complicated by an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Drug exposure in utero becomes obvious through several signs and symptoms that may be exhibited by the mother. For example, a pregnant woman battling opioid addiction may experience an obvious lack of weight gain. Erratic behavior or an inability to keep appointments can also indicate that a problem exists. More obvious indicators of substance abuse include outwardly noticeable signs of sedation or intoxication.
Intravenous drug use is often made obvious by track marks on the skin as well as lesions or abscesses. These signs and symptoms as well as others all indicate a serious potential problem for an unborn child. Opioids are another major problem in today’s modern world. The improper use of prescription opioid type drugs during pregnancy can have profound effects on an unborn child as well as the mother. The potential for a disruption in normal brain development in the infant and other developmental issues necessitates that pregnant women seek detox help and guidance as soon as possible.
Early Stages of the First Trimester
It is important to note that comprehensive screening for substance abuse should be an integral part of any obstetric care. In fact, substance abuse screening should begin prior to pregnancy and especially in the early stages of the first trimester. While there are a number of routine detox programs available for pregnant women, Methadone or Suboxone are commonly used as substitution therapy for pregnant women who are dealing with opioid or heroin addiction. The good news is that women that are able to receive proper treatment will end up having fewer prenatal and postnatal complications.
Dealing With the Stigma in Society
Finally, an alarming statistic points to the fact that a substantial number of women who are pregnant do not receive treatment because they fear that they will lose their child. Whether it is dealing with the stigma that society places on those who have drug addiction problems or even a lack of adequate insurance coverage, it is absolutely essential that women who are pregnant and who are dealing with drug or alcohol abuse seek out treatment as soon as possible. There is help available that is safe and reliable. Pregnant women should always keep in mind that it is never too late to make the right decision about stopping drug or alcohol abuse.