Addiction and Pregnancy: Help for You and Your Baby
It is the time of year to talk about healthy personal changes, for everyone, but most especially for those of you expecting a baby in 2015. The development of good habits and bravely facing bad habits and addictions is what we are interested in today.
This is a very difficult subject for many, as acknowledging and seeking treatment for addiction can be very scary- sometimes associated with shame, embarrassment, and legal, financial, and relationship concerns. We understand this might be challenging and painful and we thank you for being courageous enough to read this and then have a discussion with your Oakland Macomb provider about your own personal paths to wellness.
You are not alone. Your health is worth fighting for.
Also, we will discuss the devastating effects of drug use on babies. You and your baby are not alone. Your baby is worth fighting for, too.
Help us to help you both.
Addiction comes in the form of many substancs. Today we are most concerned with opioids (narcotic pain killers- morphine, hydromorphone, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, heroin and methadone,). Nation-wide, opioid abuse is on the rise and it is affecting people of all ages, races, and socioeconomic statuses. It is increasingly affecting women.
Not only can opioid dependence negatively impact women’s life and health, but it can lead to miscarriage and severe birth defects for infants of pregnant mothers who are using. The numbers are staggering. The deaths of patients who overdose on opioids is going up, as well as the incidence of opiate withdrawal in newborns (called neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS)).
Addressing your addiction before you become pregnant is the best thing, and avoiding narcotics during pregnancy, or using the lowest dose for a limited time to avoid dependence, is preferred. Babies born to mothers who are dependent on opioids are also dependent. We can take better care of your babies and they have a better chance of survival during pregnancy, during labor and delivery, and after they are born, if we know what they have been exposed to/grown dependent on in utero (during pregnancy).
It is so important that you share with your practitioner all prescription and recreational drugs that you have been taking. For mothers who are using, and especially for their babies, we are very careful with how we transition off these substances because withdrawal can cause acute illness (inability to eat, seizures, diarrhea, etc), miscarriage, or death.
The good news is that there are medications that can help keep your baby safe from withdrawal dangers and help you get healthy and on your path to sobriety.
We want our patients to feel comfortable having frank discussions with us about any and all drugs you are currently using, or have used, so that we may together help you safely break free of this addiction. This conversation might help save your life, and certainly that of your unborn baby. We are eager to intervene before drug abuse gravely harms your health or your pregnancy, so don’t be surprised if we start routinely asking if, how often, and how much illegal or prescription medication you are consuming. It’s an important discussion and one that we earnestly hope you will have with us.
If you suspect that you might be developing a dependency on narcotics or other substances, please do not attempt to suddenly stop using on your own- this can lead to harmful withdrawal for you and, if you are pregnant, a potentially fatal withdrawal syndrome for your baby. Please talk to us. Call anytime (#248-997-5805), 24/7 and we will get you the help you need.
As always, each patient and each pregnancy are unique- please talk to your provider about your distinct needs.
To your health!