Pregnancy is supposed to be an exciting time, but it is obviously also an emotional one. At the same time, if you are pregnant but suffering from addiction, you are no doubt experiencing a whole other slew of emotions and choices. You know the best thing to do for the baby is to detox, which you can safely do while pregnant. Of course, you will experience opiate withdrawal during pregnancy while you detox. Here’s what to expect.
How Opiates Can Affect Mother and Baby
Using any kind of opiate, whether it is something illegal like heroin or something as mundane as codeine, is highly dangerous to both the pregnant woman as well as her fetus. Using such substances during pregnancy can result in serious health issues, including premature birth, birth defects and even stillbirth. Another serious risk of opiate usage during pregnancy is Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome or NAS.
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
NAS is a serious medical condition that happens when a baby is exposed to drugs while still in the womb. After birth, the child experiences drug withdrawal symptoms. This is highly common when pregnant women use opiates because the substances are able to pass through the placenta and get to the fetus. NAS can cause very serious problems, including low birthweight, seizures, respiratory problems and feeding problems. Even if the opiates you are taking were legally prescribed by a doctor, taking them during pregnancy puts your child greatly at risk for NAS.
Symptoms of NAS include diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, excessive crying, irritability, tremors, fever and even death. When a baby is born with the condition, they need hospitalization and treatment. Medication is gradually reduced until the child is able to live without opiates.
Detoxing from Opiates While Pregnant
If you are using any type of opiates during your pregnancy, it’s absolutely essential to report it to your doctor. You should never just stop using opiates or going cold turkey because it can lead to severe consequences for both you and the baby. Getting help and treatment is the best and safest course of action.
How is Opiate Detox Treatment Done?
Anyone undergoing opiate detox — especially when pregnant — should do so under the supervision of medical professionals. They can monitor your health as well as that of your unborn baby to ensure that everything is done safely and that your lives are not at risk. It is important to find a treatment facility that have medical professionals on staff that have experience treating expecting mothers.
Medications Given During Treatment
Medication assisted treatment is safe and effective for you and your unborn child. It also ensures that if your baby is born with NAS, it’s easier to treat them for it. Medications administered during treatment are methadone and buprenorphine. These medications will ensure that your opiate withdrawal during pregnancy is much easier.
Detoxing is only the first step toward recovering from your opiate addiction. In addition to that, you will also need therapy, coping skills and life skills to move forward so that you can live a healthy, addiction free lifestyle for you and your baby. If you need help to recover from an addiction, it’s important to first admit it to yourself and then seek help.