The Impact of Addiction on Pregnant Women

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Addiction affects men and women in different ways. Women are more prone to developing physical and mental health complications. This risk increases if the woman is pregnant Addiction causes consequences for pregnant women that not only affect her, but also the unborn child.

Drug and alcohol use while pregnant affects the fetus, because whatever the mother ingests so does her unborn child. Drug and alcohol use can cause physical and developmental delays in the fetus. Alcohol increases the risks of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). FAS can cause long term behavioral and emotional problems, as well as birth defects.

Opiate use in pregnant women can cause the child to develop withdrawal symptoms. The fetus will need medical treatment to safely go through withdrawals. Other drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine can also cause withdrawal, birth defects, increased risks of addiction for the child, behavioral issues, low birth weight, and a variety of other serious medical and behavioral health concerns.

The mother is also impacted by alcohol and drugs. Women are already at greater risks for health problems from substance use when compared to men. When a woman is pregnant she may experience complications such as premature delivery or legal problems.

Pregnant woman may also deal with guilt and shame if they give birth to a substance addicted child. If she were to have a baby dependent on alcohol and drugs, the woman will face legal consequences. Child Services usually becomes involved if a child is born dependent on drugs or alcohol.

In some cases, the mother may lose her parental rights completely. Losing custody of your child is a heartbreaking consequence, and this could become a barrier to successful recovery due to the emotional aspects of not being able to mother your child.

Being pregnant and having an addiction is not an easy hurdle to overcome, but there are a lot of treatment options for you. Depending on the substance, there may be medications to help your unborn fetus overcome withdrawal symptoms safely and quickly after birth.

There are some treatment programs that will accept pregnant women. Some of these programs may incorporate parenting support groups so that you can interact with other women who have made the decision to keep their child safe from addiction.

Remember, everyone makes mistakes and you can overcome your addiction. There are supportive treatment options available for you to take advantage of. Call an addiction specialist today and explore your options.

Alcohol and pregnancy doesn’t mix. We want you to get the help you need in a safe place. The Kimberly Center is dedicated to putting our clients first. Call us now at 855-4-KCENTER.

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