Opiate Addiction and Pregnancy

Addiction is a terrible disease that can ruin a person’s life and greatly affect those around the person. One of the most abused drugs in America is opiates. With so many people addicted to opiates, even unborn babies are affected by women who abuse opiates while pregnant. According to a survey in 2013 done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there is a baby born every 25 minutes that is suffering from opiate withdrawal as they leave the womb. The dangers of opiate addiction and pregnancy unfortunately are not enough to deter the use of opiates during this crucial time. Quitting opiates cold turkey while pregnant can also put your child at great risk.

In this article, we will look at the dangers involved with opiate abuse while a woman is pregnant.

The Dangers of Opiate Addiction and Pregnancy

If a person uses opiates such as heroin, oxycondone or codeine while pregnant, it puts not only the women at risk, but the child as well. An unborn fetus may experience premature birth, various birth defects, neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and even stillbirths. NAS occurs in babies that are exposed to opiate abuse while they are in the womb. Once the baby is born, they go through withdrawal symptoms as any opiate addict would.

Opiates reach the baby through the placenta, causing various issues such as breathing problems, feeding problems, being born too small and seizures. A baby experiencing withdrawal symptoms is subject to symptoms such as seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, fevers, crying, tremors and even death.

Withdrawal during Pregnancy

Opiate addiction and pregnancy holds its own unique set of problems when compared to a normal addict trying to stop opiate abuse. Mothers are advised to seek medical assistance for opiate addiction instead of quitting opiates cold turkey while pregnant. Medications such as methadone will be used to slowly taper the individual off of the substance to help create a mild opiate withdrawal while pregnant.

Due to the severe withdrawal symptoms putting the person’s body out of balance, going cold turkey can lead to a miscarriage and feral distress. These effects are particularly severe before the 14th week and after the 32nd week of pregnancy. Due to this timeline, if an opiate addict must go through detox, they are advised to do so between the 14th and 32nd week of their pregnancy in order to lower the risk of complications. Furthermore, the process should be closely monitored by nurses and doctors at a qualified rehab center.  With a mild opiate withdrawal while pregnant during this time, due to medications used, the baby will have the best chance at a healthy birth.

The best known treatment methods for opiate addiction and pregnancy include the use of a Suboxone treatment or a methadone maintenance program. The entire process is very similar to a normal addict going through detox at a rehab but in the case of a pregnancy, extra care needs to be taken to ensure the safety of the baby. It is also advised to stay with proven treatment methods instead of alternative treatments that do not have adequate research done into their effectiveness.

Oftentimes, the disease of addiction affects not only the addict that is abusing the substance, but also those people in their lives, including unborn babies. Even though the mother may want to stop opiate abuse before getting pregnant, sometimes it can’t be avoided. Find the help you and your baby needs by contacting the White Sands Treatment Centers on (877) 855-3470 today.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.