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Becoming a New Parent in Treatment

by Ash Arjan

Motherhood is an incredibly awe-inspiring, life-changing experience, while often stressful for women with substance use disorder. Pregnancy rates among women who are actively using opioids show that there is a need for support for both expecting mothers and their developing fetuses to ensure that their safety is protected through treatment.

Pregnancy and Addiction

It’s been reported that 1 in 12 pregnant women have used an illicit drug in the past month and that opioid overdose is about 11%-20% of maternal deaths during pregnancy. The rate of neonatal abstinence syndrome in newborns has also skyrocketed 300% over the past two decades. The stigma of seeking addiction treatment while pregnant is a barrier many expecting women face, despite the safety of taking methadone while pregnant with overseeing medical supervision. Other medications that contain an opioid antagonist like naltrexone or naloxone that can help prevent chronic relapse and improve abstinence have been observed to have common success rates with some discrepancy when compared to methadone and buprenorphine groups, especially in regards to lessening prenatal exposure.

Preparing for Baby and Treatment

Methadone and pregnancy have been long studied with a favorable success rate of both mothers and babies overcoming the side effects of opioid addiction and exposure in the womb. One of the best ways to prepare for a new arrival is to make sure the mother is well, so she can care for her child once it’s born. Many opioid health resource centers have clinicians and medical providers that work in conjunction with obstetric and pediatric care to ensure the safety of the expectant mother until, during, and after birth. Providing essential prenatal care can significantly improve the health of the mother and baby, and has shown to help keep women committed to the recovery program.

Caring for Baby in Treatment

There are many peer support resources available to expectant and new mothers who are undergoing opioid use disorder treatment. These groups can help encourage strength and abstinence, especially for new mothers who may find the adjustment to parenthood is a relapse trigger. Along with emotional support, there are specialized medical groups that can provide help with access to childcare, vocational training, relapse prevention, and other services new mothers may need while working their way to sustaining long-term recovery.

Becoming pregnant while battling addiction can be a scary time, but there are solutions for expectant mothers who wish to become a parent and sustain a healthy pregnancy. The sooner a pregnant woman enrolls in a treatment program, the better the chances are for pregnancy with fewer complications for both the mother and baby. While each individual experience is unique, many women have found that pregnancy and parenthood have helped create a new chapter in their lives that has enabled long-term recovery and abstinence from drug use. Ensuring the safety of both parent and child is of utmost importance and has been made available and effective thanks to advancements in addiction science. For support in your recovery or more information about opioid addiction treatment, contact Health Care Resource Center online or call us today at 866-758-7769.

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