Trying to break an addiction is stressful enough on its own. Adding pregnancy on top of the situation can make it harder even if you’re more motivated than ever to quit.
If you’re already pregnant quitting as soon as possible is vital to the health of your baby. Seeking professional help in a supportive environment can increase your chance of beating the addiction. If you aren’t pregnant yet, here are three very good reasons why you should seek help at a facility that offers rehab for women before you start trying to conceive.
You Put Your Baby at Risk
From the moment a fertilized egg implants in a woman’s uterus the mother’s lifestyle is impacting the unborn child’s development. Like nutrients and oxygen, the drugs and alcohol a woman consumes will cross through the placenta or umbilical cord and reach the fetus. Countless studies have been conducted to determine the impact drugs and alcohol have on developing fetuses. The studies have found that many things can go wrong when drugs and/or alcohol are used during pregnancy.
FETAL ALCOHOL SPECTRUM DISORDERS (FASDS)
The consumption of alcohol during pregnancy has become a hot topic in recent years due to confusing, conflicting information. The healthiest option is to refrain from drinking alcohol entirely. If you battle addiction, abstaining is crucial.
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) is a group of physical, learning and behavioral complications that can occur in babies whose mothers consumed alcohol during pregnancy. The complications include:
- · Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
- · Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND)
- · Alcohol-Related Birth Defects (ARBD)
Scientists have been able to determine that FASDs can occur as early as 14 days into the pregnancy. The effects can be so detrimental the UK has considered criminally charging mothers that drink excessively during pregnancy.
BABIES BORN WITH ADDICTIONS/GOING THROUGH WITHDRAWAL
The hardest part of beating a drug or alcohol addiction is getting through the withdrawal period. It can cause a variety of painful and uncomfortable side effects that can last for hours or days.
Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) can occur in babies that were exposed to opiate drugs in the womb. Opiate drugs include codeine, oxycodone, heroin, methadone and buprenorphine. When NAS occurs the baby becomes dependent on the drug. Essentially, the mother’s addiction turns into the baby’s addiction.
If drugs are used within a week of delivery the baby can be born dependent and experience withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal could also occur in a newborn after exposure to alcohol, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and certain antidepressants.
Women who drink and/or use drugs are more likely to have premature babies. There is also increased risk if cigarettes are smoked during pregnancy. The main reason for this is that blood supply to the placenta can get reduced. Premature birth comes with its own set of complications and risks such as increase chance of learning disabilities.
There is a wide range of birth defects that are attributed to drug and alcohol use during pregnancy. They range from facial deformities to mental retardation to seizures.
The worst consequence of doing drugs during pregnancy is stillborn birth or miscarriage. A miscarriage is a disruption before 20 weeks that stops development. A stillborn birth is the death of the baby in utero after 20 weeks.
You Put Yourself at Risk
Pregnant or not, drug and alcohol abuse can have severe affects on your body. These affects can make pregnancy more difficult and cause complications that put your health at risk. In addition to death, drugs and alcohol can adversely affect a pregnant woman in the following ways:
- · Placenta dislocation
- · Infection
- · Slowed activity in your central nervous system
- · Slowed heart rate
- · Slowed breathing rate
- · Lowered blood pressure
- · Increased risk of anemia
- · Poor appetite/lack of nutrition
- · Difficulty sleeping
All of these things can create major health concerns when a woman is pregnant. The healthier you are the easier it is for your baby to develop and grow.
You Put Your Family at Risk
Addiction can tear a family apart faster than almost anything. Guilt, shame, hurt, sadness, anger – the family members of addicts go through every difficult emotion imaginable. They so desperately want to help their loved one who’s battling an addiction, but if there’s an unborn child involved the stakes are even higher.
The stress that your loved ones have to endure can make tempers flare and divide the family. Most won’t stand by and watch a pregnant loved one harm herself and her unborn child. Your support system might disappear when you need them the most because they simply can’t take it.