Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope
Pregnancy is a unique and incredible time for both mother and growing baby. Pregnancy is also a vulnerable time in that there many aspects that should be carefully approached in order to ensure the health of the mother, baby, and dad. This time period can be complicated when a drug addiction is involved. Thankfully, with the support and care of specialized health professionals, there is much that can be done to ensure the best possible outcome for both the mother and growing baby.
Different drugs have the ability to affect a mother’s body and subsequently, her baby during pregnancy. Some drugs more easily pass on to the fetus during pregnancy while some may take longer to reach the baby.
Some drugs may create more of a risk for the growing baby during the actual pregnancy while others may put the baby more at risk during delivery. Regardless of the drug or medication a woman may be addicted to, seeking out professional help and guidance is a necessary part of recovery and healing.
Working with an OBGYN
If you are a woman who has hoping to conceive a baby following an addiction to drugs, it is crucial to work closely with your OBGYN physician and other members of your treatment team, which may include a therapist, psychiatrist, and counselor.
Having collaborate care will help ensure that you are doing everything possible to rebuild your body in preparation for pregnancy. Growing a baby can be physically and mentally demanding, and preparing yourself as much as possible beforehand can help you be more successful in your journey.
Getting Prenatal Counseling
Consider prenatal counseling prior to conception to determine if you need to make any changes with your health after recovering from an addiction to drugs. The most important thing you can do to prepare for a healthy pregnancy is maintain sobriety from an addiction to drugs.
If you find yourself struggling with or relapsing into patterns and habits associated with your drug addiction, it is crucial to find a way to effectively manage and control the addiction. This may involve returning to treatment for a period of time to ensure that your addiction is managed before attempting to have a baby.
Even if your drug behaviors are effectively controlled, it is still ideal to seek out prenatal counseling before having a baby. A health professional can give you recommendations that may help support your pregnancy by assessing your current lifestyle as well as examining many other factors. There may be recommendations for dietary changes, supplements, or other medical interventions that can help support pregnancy and well being for mother and baby.
Starting Late Is Better than Never
If you have become pregnant before seeking out medical care and intervention for your addiction, it does not mean it is too late to have a safe and healthy pregnancy. Seeking out treatment as early as possible in your pregnancy will ensure that you can take the necessary steps to help yourself and your baby.
In some instances, you may find yourself with an unplanned pregnancy. In this situation, it is important to know that you and your baby are deserving of help and adequate care. If you are feeling shame, guilt or fear as a result of your pregnancy, reach out to a professional who can help you process the emotions that you may be experiencing.
Pregnancy is often a time that is both joyful and overwhelming. Having the support of a counselor or therapist can help you effectively work through the many different emotions that you may be experiencing.
Make Your Health a Priority
Planning and preparing for a successful pregnancy begins with you, with making your health a priority and ensuring that your addiction to drugs has subsided and is effectively managed. If you are not sure where to begin to seek help, talk with your doctor or OBGYN.
It is crucial to reveal your history of drug addiction so your doctor understands the most effective plan of care for you and how to best help and support you during this time.
Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!
Did you have a successful pregnancy after addiction? What resources were helpful to you during and after your pregnancy?
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on July 7th, 2015
Published on AddictionHope.com