Being addicted to alcohol or drugs is something that is bound to have a negative effect on anybody’s health. However, the problem gets even more serious when the addicted person is a pregnant woman. These substances find their way to the baby from a women’s bloodstream, through the placenta and the umbilical cord. The worst thing is that they’ll stay in the baby’s bloodstream for much longer than in the mother’s, which can disrupt the normal development of the fetus and lead to such complications as miscarriage, premature birth, fetal alcohol syndrome or a whole range of physical and mental health issues. If this is a situation you or somebody close to you are in, here is some advice on how to manage it.
Planning a pregnancy
When a woman is addicted and she wants to become a mother, she should seek treatment before the pregnancy itself. When it comes to physical health after addiction recovery, there are some chances that a woman can have a normal pregnancy and give birth to a healthy child. To improve those chances, she should try to stay fit and eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet in order to stay healthy for herself and her baby. However, the physical aspect isn’t the only thing that should concern a recovered woman.
When one has battled addiction to alcohol or drugs, there is always a real threat of a relapse, and this is something that should be taken very seriously, especially once a woman gets pregnant. After all, a relapse during pregnancy doesn’t only affect the mother, but her fetus as well. Another concern should be the overall mental state of the mother. Namely, addiction is often accompanied by mental issues such as depression, panic attacks, eating disorders and other problems. Getting treatment for addiction doesn’t necessarily mean that these other issues will disappear, too. So, finding help to contain them is just as crucial as going through recovery.
A planned pregnancy is one thing, but when a woman gets pregnant while she’s using, it’s a whole different story. A frequent problem is that, in such cases, a woman continues using unaware of her pregnancy, and she only reacts once she realizes that she’s with child. By that point, months of substance abuse can be behind her, months during which the fetus could already have been affected by the substance in question.
As soon as you or your loved one find out about the pregnancy, find adequate help. If you turn to a health expert, they will be able to assess your situation and create a personalized treatment plan based on your specific situation. There are now great treatment facilities which offer rehab for pregnant women, whether they’re addicted to alcohol or drugs. These offer various types of therapy, which can either involve only the addicted woman, or her family and loved ones, too. It’s crucial that the therapy is monitored by people who have a lot of experience with pregnant addicts, since they will know how to provide both the mother and her unborn baby with the best care at the same time. They will supervise your detox in order to prevent different symptoms of withdrawal, especially seizures.
Having the right support
Battling with addiction is difficult, especially when a woman is on her own. And it becomes even worse when she gets pregnant, since it’s not only her wellbeing on the line, but her unborn child’s as well. Sometimes it’s very hard for these women to admit how significant and huge their problem really is and that they actually need help, and right away. This is why it’s important for them to have a proper support system.
If you’re battling an addiction, the first people you should turn to in this kind of situation is your family and your closest friends. They are the people you love and trust, and the feeling is probably mutual, which means that they’ll be the ones who will want to help you the most. Just having somebody go with you when you look for the right kind of treatment is a big deal and can make things much easier. Plus, they might be able to offer other types of support, aside from the emotional one. After all, you might need financial help or, if you already have children, somebody to take care of them while you’re away in rehab.
Another great idea is to look for support groups in your area, which specialize in your exact type of addiction. Being around people who are going or have gone through the exact same thing as you might make you understand that you’re not alone and that you are still the good person you once were, but that you’re ill and you need help to get back up and be the best mother you can be for your child. Having people who believe in you and who will be there to tell you that you can get better and be your old self, and having somebody you can talk to and tell them what troubles you is something anybody should cherish.
It isn’t easy to tackle addiction, but when you’re pregnant, it’s necessary in order to maintain your own health, as well as the health of your child. So, if you’re pregnant and addicted, start looking for help today.