Many women are affected by drug addiction. Unfortunately many become pregnant while in the depth of their illness. If you’re in this situation, you might be concerned about what to do and how you can possibly detox while pregnant.
You are undoubtedly aware that continuing your drug abuse while pregnant could affect your unborn baby. If you want to get treatment, do it as soon as possible. The sooner you get clean, the better it will be for you and your baby. Learn about our drug detox program in The Woodlands today.
You might be worried that damage to your baby has already been done. There is no way to be sure at this stage. However, if you are less than six weeks pregnant and significant damage was caused to the embryo before you found out you were pregnant, it is likely that you will have a miscarriage.
If you don’t miscarry, and you decide to quit using now, your baby has a good chance of being just fine. Even if you’ve been using heavily, and you are further along than six weeks, there is a likelihood that your baby will be okay as long as you get treatment right away.
It’s true that some drugs are more hurtful for an unborn child than others. And, how they affect your baby will usually depend on the type of drug you’ve been using, how heavily you used it, and how long you’ve been using it
You may want to speak to a medical professional to find out what your chances are of having a healthy baby. Often, a pregnancy can be the motivation for change when it comes to illnesses such as drug addiction. You might discover that it makes you more determined to get clean for the sake of your child.
Because everyone is different, the time you’ll need in detox depends on many things including:
Detoxing from drugs is difficult for anyone, but because you’re pregnant, you will need to be extra careful. It’s important to find a detox center that will accept you and where there is trained staff who specialize in helping pregnant women. Some of the drugs that might be prescribed to help with drug withdrawal could be dangerous for an unborn child, so you must inform the staff of your pregnancy.
A medical professional will give you a physical exam and ask you about your drug and alcohol use. It’s very important to tell the doctor or nurse about any drugs you have been taking including prescription drugs and ones you’ve been using without a prescription. This helps you and the staff design an appropriate treatment plan.
Your body has gotten used to the drugs you’ve been taking, and it takes time to recover. When you quit using you may feel a physical sickness called withdrawal. The detox staff will be able to make you more comfortable during this period. Some withdrawal symptoms are very serious, but most are just severely uncomfortable such as:
The medical personnel on staff may give you medications that can make you more comfortable and make it safer for your baby. Be sure to inform your doctor about how you’re feeling so you can get the appropriate medications. Not all people have serious withdrawal symptoms but it can happen. If you have any of the following problems, tell the detox staff immediately:
Some medications shouldn’t be taken at the same time, so it’s important that the detox staff knows everything that could be in your system before they give you any new medication. It’s important to get care from a doctor when you are in withdrawal and pregnant.
Withdrawal without medical care during detox could make it more likely that you will have a miscarriage or start labor too soon. A miscarriage is when the unborn baby dies before you reach the 5th month of pregnancy. Detox staff will help you make a recovery plan for when you leave detox. It’s important to get lots of support and good treatment when you are in recovery.
A detox that is slow and supervised during the second trimester is often the recommended treatment for pregnant women. Some doctors might recommend a replacement drug to help you withdraw from the drug you’re addicted to.
There are special medications that reduce cravings and help with recovery from opioid use disorder (OUD). You may be given methadone or buprenorphine to help you get through withdrawal and stay off other opioids. Medication for OUD is recommended for pregnant women who are addicted to opioids. Methadone treatment starts during detox.
Buprenorphine is a medication like methadone. It can reduce cravings and lower your risk of relapse. Buprenorphine is prescribed by a doctor and taken at home. Methadone or buprenorphine treatment is recommended for women who are dependent on opioids. Detoxing with medication is safer than without medication because it:
Your baby is more likely to be healthier if you take methadone or buprenorphine rather than if you continue using opioid medications or heroin. But you should know that it is still likely that your baby will be born with health problems if you take any chemical substance while pregnant. Babies born to mothers taking these medications can be born addicted to these drugs also.
Many women have safely taken medications to treat OUD while pregnant. Neither methadone nor buprenorphine has been shown to cause physical birth defects. Still, most babies do go through withdrawal after they are born. This is called neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Typically, babies begin withdrawal a few days after being born but it may start as late as four weeks after birth and last for a few days or a few weeks.
Medically supervised withdrawal is a type of medication-assisted treatment (MAT). In medically supervised withdrawal, you begin the medication during detox and gradually take smaller and smaller amounts of medication until your body finishes withdrawal. This helps to reduce the chances of severe withdrawal symptoms, but it also means that you can get completely clean long before your baby is born. If you choose medically supervised withdrawal you should know that:
You’ll have many different feelings during detox such as:
All of these feelings (and more) are normal when you are in detox.
First Trimester (0 – 12 weeks pregnant): During your first trimester, you probably won’t be able to hear the baby’s heartbeat or feel it moving yet. This is normal. You might feel nauseous and tired.
Second Trimester (13 – 27 weeks pregnant): Early in your second trimester, your doctor may be able to hear the baby’s heartbeat and feel it move. Tell the detox staff if you feel the baby move. Your body will change a lot during this time.
Third Trimester (28 weeks to birth): It’s important to let your doctor know you are in detox if you aren’t in a treatment center. This way they can make sure you and your baby are healthy. If you have contractions or your water breaks, these are signs that labor might be starting. You will need to tell the detox staff and go to the hospital.
Here are some signs that you or your baby might be sick or in trouble. You will want to tell the detox staff or call your doctor if you:
Detox is the first stage of getting clean and sober. But you need to learn how to stay that way. The good news is that you have great motivation to stay sober which will serve you well through your pregnancy. From time to time, you may still experience cravings for the substance you used to abuse. You will need to know how to deal with this.
During our inpatient drug rehab program, you will learn not only how to avoid drug cravings, but you will also learn the reasons you became addicted in the first place. It’s essential to face these issues because failing to do so could result in trouble for you some time later. Addiction specialists can help you learn how not to fall back into that trap.
Be sure to tell any rehab provider that you are pregnant in your initial talk because they need to know this to be able to create a suitable treatment program for you. You will need a custom-tailored treatment plan that caters to your specific requirements.
Yes, you can detox while pregnant. And continue your treatment at Magnolia City Detox. This means that you will benefit from being treated by the same treatment team through the most crucial days of your recovery. Our medical staff is experienced in the treatment of many addictions from detox on.
If you live in or around the Houston area, and you are pregnant with a substance abuse problem, you can find a treatment team here at Magnolia City Detox. We will work for the best recovery for you and your baby. Contact us today.
Dr. Olaniyi O. Osuntokun is a Neurology & Psychiatry Specialist based in Conroe, Texas, and Lafayette, Indiana. He has extensive experience in treating Individuals with substance use disorders and addiction. He earned his medical degree from University of Ibadan College of Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years.