Alcohol and Drug Rehab for Pregnant/Postpartum Women
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Pregnancy And Addiction Treatment
Pregnant mothers who struggle with alcohol or drug addiction carry a massive burden as they balance the desire to be healthy and the physical demand of dependency. In 2012, a national survey revealed that 5.9% of pregnant women use illicit drugs, and 8.5% drink alcohol. Addiction can lead to a multitude of challenges in pregnancy, delivery, and overall development. Many women worry that their options for rehabilitation are limited while pregnant or shortly after giving birth. With the help of unique treatment plans, however, there are plenty of options to help pregnant and postpartum women seeking recovery at all stages.
The Risk of Withdrawal
Repeated instances of withdrawal occur when the substance is not available as withdrawal symptoms begin. Some feel withdrawal symptoms between each use if access or opportunity is limited.
According to drugabuse.gov, direct risks of fluctuated withdrawal during pregnancy include:
- Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)—Infant withdrawal symptoms after birth include: convulsions, tremors, diarrhea, fever, seizures, and difficulty breathing.
- Low birth weight, developmental delay, and underdeveloped organs
- Premature birth
- Stillbirth or miscarriage
Drug use and fluctuated withdrawal can severely impact fetal development through all stages of pregnancy. Repeated withdrawal can take a massive toll on placental function, creating a harmful environment for the unborn baby.
Unique Treatment Plans
Pregnant and postpartum mothers require unique treatment plans to provide a safe and lasting recovery.
Alcohol and drug addiction treatment can be modified to accommodate the needs of those seeking sobriety, such as:
- Prenatal and postnatal care—access to an obstetrician and general clinicians; regular vitals and fetal monitoring.
- Nutritional support
- Infant bonding, if possible
- Parenting resources
- Aftercare and access to sober living facilities
Therapies after detox are administered based on the core needs of the patient. Some patients require a combination of therapies to truly benefit from everything a rehab program has to offer.
Medication-assisted Opioid Withdrawal During and After Pregnancy
While a mother is undergoing withdrawal symptoms, her unborn baby is likely experiencing distress, as well. This should not deter treatment. Experienced medical staff in a hospital or inpatient rehab will help to ensure the health, comfort, and safety of both the mother and child.
Common medication-assisted treatment options for pregnant and postpartum women include:
- Suboxone (buprenorphine): An opioid blocker and pain reliever used to treat addiction cravings. Suboxone is considered the “safer” option, as the withdrawal period in neonatal care is shorter, and less intense.
- Methadone: An opioid used in opioid maintenance therapy.
While Methadone offers a higher retention rate in recovery, the likelihood of NAS is greater than that of Suboxone by 10%. The risk of NAS is still present in babies born during medicated withdrawal, however, the prevalence of fluctuated withdrawals are lessened. This allows for more stable placental function and development. It is important to discuss options with your doctor to find the right treatment plan for you and your baby.
Behavioral Intervention Therapy
Emotional, physical, and hormonal changes commonly occur in pregnant women—and often in postpartum. This can exacerbate mental health disorders or bring new challenges to light.
Treating co-occurring disorders is an important factor in addiction recovery, especially during pregnancy and postpartum.
Behavioral intervention covers an array of therapy options, such as:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a widely used form of psychotherapy which offers a contingency plan for processing feelings and triggers associated with addiction. While raising a newborn, lack of sleep and stress has the potential to trigger a relapse. Continued CBT can help mothers in recovery manage these challenges to avoid falling back into addiction.
- Motivational Interviewing (MI): MI helps patients explore their choices, emotions, and motivations for staying sober. The intent is to determine “readiness” for changes needed for a lasting recovery.
- Contingency Management: Using positive reinforcement, this therapy offers a tangible or visual reward for positive decisions. Over time, these decisions become more like “second-nature” to the patient.
Behavioral Intervention Therapy techniques are intended to allow patients to take the reins in their own recovery. Pregnant and postpartum women can gain confidence and empowerment in making the right choices for themselves and their children.
Find the Right Treatment Center for You
Safety, accessibility, and ongoing rehabilitation are key in a successful recovery—both during and after pregnancy. If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, help is available. Let our friendly staff help you find the right rehab today.