Addiction, pregnancy and detox: Minimizing risks to unborn child

Addiction, pregnancy and detox: Minimizing risks to unborn child

Pregnancy is a crucial stage during which a constant risk of complications hovers, both for the mother and the child. The prenatal period makes a mother undergo many hormonal changes due to which she may experience an array of emotions and feelings. In addition, she needs to change her dietary habits and lifestyle in order to ensure proper nourishment to the unborn. This may include giving up on certain habits, such as addiction or alcohol consumption.

Complete abstinence from alcohol and drugs is highly recommended for the expecting mother, as detox during pregnancy might prove to be unsafe because it increases the chances of complications for her as well as the child.

Addiction among women is as common as it is among men. As per the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), during 2012-2013, nearly 5.5 percent of pregnant women aged between 15 and 44 were reported as illicit drug users. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly one out of 10 pregnant women reports alcohol use.

Dangers of addiction during pregnancy

The dangers of addictive substances, such as alcohol and drugs, do not restrict to the mother, but also extend to her unborn child. As per studies, these substances tend to cross the placenta and reach the baby causing serious harms.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), substance abuse tends to increase the risk for stillbirth up to threefold, depending on the substance abused. Other hazards, such as fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), numerous birth defects, miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, neurological defects and babies born with a dependence on opioids (neonatal abstinence syndrome or NAS) are common among children born to addicted mothers.

Studies have identified health risks, such as heart attacks, respiratory failure, strokes and seizures, to the babies in case of cocaine use during pregnancy. Besides, exposure to drugs such as marijuana or alcohol has been identified to cause behavioral problems in children in their early childhood. The ill effects of addiction are not always seen immediately after the birth, many of these tend to surface during adolescence. This makes it important to keep following up with children born to addicted mothers until their teen years.

Risk of detox during pregnancy

Detox is always challenging and during pregnancy it becomes all the more risky. Many experts do not recommend detoxification during the prenatal period. However, if it is really needed, it should be done only under highly trained professionals and medical surveillance as the withdrawal symptoms may cause harm to the fetus.

Cold turkey detox is specifically not recommended during pregnancy as sudden cessation of an abused substance can result in gross outcome due to the brain’s struggle to restore balance, thereby causing physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms during detox is inevitable. The nature of withdrawal symptoms experienced by an addict depends on certain factors, such as the type, method, length, and amount of the drug abused, as well as the genetics of the abuser. However, the impact of withdrawal symptoms seems to be higher for the ones with greater substance abuse.

Besides, when toxins are released from the body during detox, these tend to mix up with the bloodstream, thereby polluting the blood. The toxins often pass through the placenta and intoxicate the nourishment received by the fetus. Apart from causing dehydration, detox also impacts the milk production for breastfeeding.

Road to recovery

While detox is an important step in the recovery from addiction, it may prove risky for pregnant women. Therefore, for someone who is an addict, it is always advisable to undergo a detox treatment before she plans to conceive. In unavoidable cases where a pregnant woman requires to undergo detox, she should always opt for a medical detox program provided by experts.

If you or your loved one is addicted to any substance and is willing to go sober, then seek medical advice immediately. You may get in touch with the California Detox Helpline to know about the best rapid detox centers in California. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number (855) 780-2495 or chat online to gain information on various detox and rehab centers in California. Our representative can connect you to one of the best detox centers in California.