The Complications of Heroin Use in Pregnancy

Heroin is a highly addictive drug that is harmful to users, and can cause numerous problems for a pregnant mother and the developing baby. Unfortunately, Heroin is all too prevalent in the United States. Recent surveys have shown that over 300,000 people have reported heroin use, of whom approximately 79,000 are women of childbearing age.

Due to the fact that unintended pregnancies are common in the United States, it is possible that women may be using heroin without realizing that they are pregnant. Needless to say, heroin causes serious harm to a woman’s body as well as to the baby.

Effects of Heroin on Pregnancy

If a woman who is addicted to heroin is pregnant, then it is inevitable that there will be complications in the pregnancy. If the woman stops using heroin then withdrawal symptoms will affect the unborn child. If she continues to use the drug, then chances are that the baby will be born with an addiction.

If the baby is born with a dependency then it will face withdrawal symptoms upon birth, such as vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, sweating and sleep disturbances. On the other hand, if the mother stops using heroin abruptly while still pregnant, then that can cause fetal distress, preterm labor or even fetal demise.

Treatment for Heroin Dependency during Pregnancy

The best recommended course of action to treat a dependency or addiction is professional treatment. This is even more so the case when a pregnancy is involved. There are treatment centers that offer special programs tailored for pregnant women. Going through a medically supervised detox is the way to ensure an optimum outcome for the mother and the child. Under medical supervision, the expectant mother can be given suitable medication to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and be monitored for any life threatening events.

During the detox period, the expectant mother may be tempted to leave treatment and resume drug use. This is referred to as Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, which leaves the individual vulnerable to relapse. Therefore counseling is necessary if the expectant mother is going to be prepared for upcoming responsibilities of motherhood after completion of treatment. Counseling also addresses any mental and emotional issues, coping methods and relapse triggers.

Research suggests that the medication buprenorphine is safe for women to use during pregnancy. The drug can quell cravings, allowing the expectant mother to move forward with the therapy and stop using heroin.

Are you looking for more information heroin addiction and treatment? Call Hired Power on 1-800-910-9299. We have the resources to help you start your journey to recovery.