Many women have the opportunity to plan their pregnancies. For those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol, looking into the future as a mother-to-be is masked by the cycle of withdrawal and the desperate need for the next high. But this isn’t just about the adult addict. With every day that goes by, the fetus in the womb is now a participant in the substance use. It won’t take long before the unborn has no choice and succumbs to addiction. If there’s a mother or sister, daughter or friend that you know is using and at risk of becoming pregnant or is already carrying, here’s what you need to know about being addicted and pregnant in Arizona.
Hydration Takes a Back Seat to Habit
With the summer looming closer, there are more obstacles to staying properly hydrated when addicted and pregnant in Arizona than elsewhere in the country. The desert heat takes a toll on our health, requiring consistent water consumption to keep our organs and minds functioning at healthy levels.
Drug and alcohol intake can dehydrate people quickly. Higher temperatures outside and not enough hydration to internal bodily systems can rapidly lead to disorientation, fainting and heat stroke. While under the influence of opioids, meth and other narcotics, the frontal cortex of the brain is compromised, the area that assists in sound decision-making.
For women that are trying to nurse a drug habit instead of thinking about the baby to come, hydration and proper diet aren’t of consideration, which can lead to an increased risk for miscarriage.
Morning Sickness or Drug Withdrawal, It’s Hard to Tell
Pregnancy doesn’t mix well with the addiction cycle. Some of the side of effects of drug and alcohol withdrawal are similar to morning sickness, the nausea, vomiting and general flu-like feeling that won’t go away. For women using drugs, relief will come from the next drink, pill, smoke or injection but at a great cost to their baby, that is if the fetus survives. Even if the expectant mother wants to care for her child-to-be, the focus on getting the drug and staying high will replace any desire to eat. The drugs and alcohol increases the toxicity in the mother’s bloodstream passing it on to the fetus.
By the time the mother is 16 to 20 weeks in to her pregnancy, normally the time when the baby’s kicks are felt, much of the fetus’ development may have already been compromised.
In addition, many women don’t even know they’re pregnant until the second trimester has started. According to the above chart, most of the body and brain’s development begins in the first two months.
Is it too late to get off drugs and alcohol if you’ve been using during pregnancy?
It’s Never Too Late to Get Clean and Sober for Your Baby
It’s never too late to take care of yourself and your unborn child. But there are risks in going through detox alone. The body and brain have grown accustomed to receiving the drug of choice. Once it is deprived, internal systems go into shock, giving way to a flurry of painful withdrawal symptoms. Some can be managed while others can be life-threatening to mother and fetus.
For example, while detoxing from benzodiazepenes (Valium and Xanax), withdrawals can be so severe that heart rate is increased to the point where it’s difficult to breathe and the risk of heart attack or stroke is evident. The physical stress of detox is what drives many people back to drug use – in just the first week.
Drug Dependency Doesn’t Happen Overnight, Neither Does Successful Recovery
How do you survive drug rehab when you’re pregnant when it’s tough enough just getting used to the added aches and pains of a changing body and the hormonal imbalances to match? When making the decision to get healthy and commit to living a better life as a family – mother and child – choosing an addiction treatment facility in Arizona that has a gestational drug detox program increases the chances for success in recovery and delivering a healthy baby.
Gestational Drug Rehab Focuses on the Needs of Pregnant Women
No one else in rehab can relate to what a budding Mom is going through than another woman going through the same experience. There are many sides of drug treatment and recovery and one essential part is understanding how to process thoughts and feelings that make us depressed, angry or uncomfortable. During pregnancy, emotions can run high and seem irrational. Tears of laughter can quickly turn to tears of sadness for no reason at all. Learning the right coping mechanisms and other life skills can ease the road toward sobriety and taking on the exciting responsibility of raising a child.
These are some of the elements covered in gestational drug and alcohol rehab, putting patients, pregnancy and positive possibilities together.
For help in getting off drugs or alcohol during pregnancy, contact a compassionate addiction counselor who can guide you to the best substance abuse treatment options in Arizona.
Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Arizona Addiction Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 888-512-1705.
Authored by Melanie Stern, Content Director for Scottsdale Recovery Center, Arizona Addiction Recovery Centers and Cohn Media, LLC. Writer and broadcaster covering the following industries: addiction rehab, health care, entertainment, technology and advocate of clear communication, positivity and humanity at its best.