Drug Treatment for Pregnant Women

Posted by on Jun 24, 2013 in Addicted Children, Addicted Parents, Addiction, Pregnancy, Women |

Drug treatment for pregnant women

The need for drug treatment for pregnant women is high. Prenatal care and drug treatment can help ensure healthy babies and prevent the developmental and behavioral problems caused by alcohol and other drugs in pregnant women.

Infant mortality and drug and alcohol addicted babies is directly linked to the quality of prenatal care the mothers received. Low-income families sometimes do not have access to or they don’t seek health care. Birth defects, developmental problems, and behavioral problems occur in many children whose mothers have not gotten adequate prenatal care. Prenatal health care programs for women in low income families can help prevent the occurrence of developmental problems that contribute to low academic achievement and the likelihood of delinquent behavior. This is part of the reason drug treatment for pregnant women are so important.

The facts about drug use in pregnant women

The most recent National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health estimated that in 2004-2005, 3.9% of pregnant mothers had used illicit drugs, including cocaine, in the past month. Even more alarming, the prevalence rate of illegal drug use was higher for pregnant women in the 15-18-year age range (12.3%) than for women aged 18-25 years (7%). Moreover, the women who abuse illicit drugs often use licit drugs. An estimated 32% of those using one illicit drug during pregnancy also use both alcohol and cigarettes, revealing disturbing estimates of 800,000 to 1 million fetuses exposed to the effects of legal (including alcohol) or illegal substances every year.

The reason pregnant women don’t go to drug treatment

Drug treatment for pregnant women became prevalent in the 1980s as a result of the cocaine epidemic. Despite the increase of drug treatment for pregnant women there are serious barriers against treatment for pregnant addicts and alcoholics. Many drug treatment programs have focused or relied on male based recovery models that focus on the individual and not the pregnant nor the postpartum addict within the context of their family or environment. It is often difficult for drug using mothers to be accepted into drug treatment programs if they are pregnant. Many maternal substance abusers are also hesitant to enter into a drug treatment program for fear of losing custody of their children or fear of criminal prosecution including negative reactions from normal drug treatment programs-which all drives them away from going to drug treatment. Lack of resources is another barrier that keeps pregnant women from getting drug treatment.

Drug treatment for pregnant women works

But drug treatment that starts during pregnancy is effective. Prenatal clinics are prime settings for identifying pregnant women with a drug or alcohol and problem and finding them a drug treatment for pregnant women. There are increasing drug treatment programs for pregnant women that give prenatal care as well as solutions to addiction and alcoholism. Not only that but these drug treatment programs for women also provide daycare for any children the mother may already have.

But yet there isn’t enough drug treatment for pregnant women:

“Less than half of the drug treatment providers whose clients were only women provided services for pregnant or postpartum women, prenatal and perinatal care, child care services, women’s groups, or domestic violence services”

And this isn’t the way it should be. Drug treatment for pregnant women is of the utmost importance and luckily more and more programs are showing up that are willing to provide this special care and treatment for pregnant women.



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