When a pregnant woman is suffering from drug addiction, the situation is more serious because the effects of drug use not only applies to her, but her fetus is facing danger as well. It's quite likely that when the child is born, it will suffer from bad health from day one.
Illegal drug taking can cause many health problems for pregnant women, such as hepatitis, anemia, sexually transmitted diseases, skin, hard and blood infections etc. Because the baby gets access to those illegal drugs indirectly, it's quite possible that the baby will be born with illness as well. For example, research has shown that if a mother use heroin during her pregnancy, her baby might suffer from low birth weight. If children are exposed to marijuana or cocaine, they might suffer from attention deficiency, slowness in learning and behavioral problems. When exposed to methamphetamine, babies can suffer from poor quality of movement, fetal growth restriction and decreased arousal.
Another bad effect of drug addiction is the psychosocial effect. Pregnant women using illicit drugs often feel guilty, shame, denial, loneliness and embarrassment. The fear of being found and arrested can make them anxious and even depressed.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 4.3% of pregnant women recently used illicit drugs. Also according to that survey, those in the 15 to 25 age group are more prone to illicit drug use and cigarettes smoking than those in the 26 to 44 age group.
Fortunately, there are some treatment options for pregnant women with drug addiction and one can find many addiction treatment centers that can help pregnant women as well. The main treatment methods include:
1) Medications: For example, methadone maintenance combined with prenatal care and a comprehensive drug treatment program is an effective treatment method.
2) Behavioral Treatments: For example, motivational incentive approaches appear to be effective in treating pregnant women with nicotine, cocaine, opiate dependence.
3) Comorbidity: Study has shown that pregnant women with psychological problems are more prone to substance abuse, and vice-versa. Therefore, treatment focusing on this co-occurring pattern can be effective.
Drug addiction is a serious problem. It's more serious for pregnant women. Fighting drug addiction requires determination, discipline and hard work, but it's worth the effort. If a pregnant woman is struggling with addiction, she should take it really seriously and seek help and treatment as soon as possible. This is not only for herself, but for the good of her unborn child as well.