No one plans to become addicted to opioids. If this is something that has happened to you, you probably got by for a time on the theory that the only person you were hurting was yourself. Now that you are pregnant, this is no longer the case. If you are continuing to use opioids while pregnant, you are now also harming your unborn child. Fortunately, you can receive effective and safe addiction treatment during your pregnancy with methadone.               

Concerns for Pregnant Women Who Abuse Opioids

The nation is experiencing an opioid epidemic, and addiction does not stop just because of pregnancy. A study of women enrolled in Medicaid nationwide found that 21.6 percent filled at least one painkiller prescription while pregnant. Unfortunately, opioid use during pregnancy can have some profoundly negative health effects on an unborn child.

The CDC released a study revealing a link between the use of opioid painkillers and several types of birth defects. Among those were glaucoma, spina bifida, hydrocephaly, gastroschisis, and some congenital heart defects. Another study found that women who take opioids during pregnancy are more likely to have premature babies and give birth to babies with severe neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Some drug abusers also use needles or are more likely to engage in other unsafe activities, which could lead to negative health consequences. 

One of the safest ways to detox from opioids while pregnant is to use methadone.

What is Methadone?

Methadone is an opioid medication that is long-acting. It is used for management of chronic pain as well as a treatment for people who are dependent on opioids. Methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) has been proven to reduce opioid drug cravings while also preventing the onset of withdrawal symptoms. The drug also blocks the effects of other opioids. MMT is backed by forty years of use and research, and it is most effective for the treatment of opioid addiction when combined with other support services such as counseling.

Addiction treatment

How Methadone is Used as an Addiction Treatment During Pregnancy

Using methadone for withdrawal during pregnancy will not cause birth defects to a baby. While a baby may experience some withdrawal symptoms after birth, these are manageable and the health of the baby is much better than the health of those who are born to mothers using short-acting opioids. According to the National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the benefits of using methadone for addiction treatment during pregnancy include:

  • Better neonatal outcomes
  • Stabilized fetal levels of opioids, which can reduce NAS
  • Better prenatal care for mothers
  • Increase in HIV treatment for mothers, which reduces the likelihood of virus transmittal to the fetus

If you are pregnant and using prescription painkillers, heroin, or other synthetic opioids, it is vital that you stop as soon as possible for the sake of your health and that of your unborn child. Addiction itself is a dreadful disease, but your situation is not hopeless. With the right addiction treatment, both you and your child have a chance at a beautiful life. Contact The Recovery Village now to find out how our medication-assisted treatment program can help you and your child break free from addiction.

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Is Methadone Safe for Pregnant Women? was last modified: March 2nd, 2018 by The Recovery Village