Print Posted by Ken Benson on 09/11/2016

Drug Use Drug Pregnancy - A Guide To Resources

Drug Use Drug Pregnancy - A Guide To Resources
Rehabs America believes that access to prenatal care is a basic human right and that legislation that prevents this care by treating addicted mothers as criminals is morally wrong.  Please Visit This Link for more information.

Drug abuse and addiction during pregnancy in a controversial topic.  In television and movies women who are addicted to drugs or who abuse drugs while pregnant are often portrayed as criminals or beyond redemption.  However, this view of addiction created more harm than good for the unborn children and perpetuates a cycle of guilt and shame in the mother. No matter what your viewpoint on addiction is, we can all agree that the unborn children should not pay the price.

It is important to realize that with some drugs stopping cold turkey is not an option.  Many women who discover they are pregnant late in pregnancy are essentially stuck continuing to use the drug until after the child is born.  Even if they are able to stop, the vast majority of drug rehabilitation programs will not take a pregnant mother due to the increased medical needs and liabilities of the women.

How Does Drug Abuse Effect The Baby

The full effects of prenatal drug exposure on a child is not known, however studies have shown that many drugs of abuse my result in premature birth, miscarriage, low birth weight, and a variety of cognitive and behavioral problem many of which will not be fully pronounced until years after birth.

Drugs that are known to have adverse effects are :

While each of these drugs likely have differing effects, commonly the use of drugs during pregnancy can include:

  • Complications with the placenta
  • Miscarriage
  • Premature birth
  • Poor fetal development
  • A birth weight below 5.5 pounds
  • Cleft lip or clubfoot
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Respiratory problems
  • Physical disabilities
  • Higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

These risks are serious and its important for women who are using drugs to get medical immediate medical care. Often if the pregnancy is discovered very early on simply stopping the use of drugs can avoid the majority of negative effects.  Beyond the medical implications there can be further legal and social complications if the pregnancy is not discovered soon enough.

More Information and Research


What Happens When Women Seek Help?

If the pregnancy has progressed past the point where simply stopping the drug use is not an option due to harmful withdraw effects on the fetus or if the individual simply cannot stop on there own, finding help becomes significantly harder.  In some states, drug use by a pregnant women can result in criminal charges, in others programs do not provide the services needed.   These laws can prevent some mothers from getting even the most basic of prenatal care.

One of the reason's why these laws are so damaging is that these states require caregivers to report drug use during pregnancy as child abuse.  This leaves women stuck without the ability to received the needed care.

For more information on the policies in your state...


What can I do to get healthy?

The first step to finding help is to find an advocate.  Find a family member or loved one who you trust and have them reach out to local care organizations to find what is available.  Another option is to contact our help line and let us put you in touch with available resources in your area.  Above all, don't give up.

Additional Information

More About Ken Benson

Ken is passionate about substance abuse education.  With over 10 years experience in the addiction treatment field, Ken brings his experience to the team at Rehabs America.  Ken's articles cover the entire spectrum of substance abuse with careful attention to research and providing the cutting edge in addiction treatment information.

After watching his sister battle addiction Ken became convinced that treating addiction on a national scale begins with education.  Ken has delivered drug education lectures to schools and community groups across the country. Today he is working towards a masters degree in social work.

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