Pregnancy is a beautiful, delicate process that requires care and attention.
Many expecting mothers are encouraged to take certain precautions by their doctors and are told to avoid certain things that could harm their child and themselves. While substance abuse is an obvious threat to pregnancy, many pregnant women who abuse drugs like heroin often suffered from addiction prior to their pregnancy.
Addiction is a chronic disease that can’t simply be erased. Unfortunately, amidst the opioid crisis in Delaware, there are many women who struggle with substance abuse during pregnancy. Because heroin is one of the most dangerous drugs out there, the team at our Delaware drug and alcohol treatment center shares insight on how heroin affects pregnancy.
What Is Heroin?
Heroin is an opioid street drug, derived from morphine, that binds to opioid receptors in the brain involved in breathing, sleep, emotion, perception of pain, and reward. People can inject, snort, or smoke heroin, which is available in a white or brown powder form as well as a sticky black goo known as black tar heroin. Sometimes heroin addicts will combine it with cocaine to create what’s known as a speedball.
Especially for expectant mothers addicted to heroin, a proper heroin detox conducted by trained and licensed professionals is vital for the health and safety of both the mother and, more importantly, the health of the baby. A medical detox is only the beginning, though. Banyan Treatment Centers Delaware offers heroin addiction treatment to get patients on the right track towards sobriety, and for new mothers, a chance to give their baby a chance at a better childhood.
How Does Heroin Affect Pregnancy?
Heroin is extremely harmful to a full-grown and healthy adult, so it’s no wonder that it can be fatal for an unborn child. The effects of heroin on the fetus and the mother can cause a variety of problems including:
Premature Birth Premature birth occurs when a child is born before the 37-week mark in pregnancy. Premature babies are often required to remain in the hospital after birth in order to gain weight and treat additional health problems that may arise.
Stillbirth When a baby dies in the womb before the 20-week mark in the pregnancy, it’s considered a stillborn baby or a stillbirth. This heartbreaking consequence is unfortunately a common result of heroin use and pregnancy.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) SIDS is the unexplained death of a baby younger than a year old. It’s also known as cot death or crib death. It usually occurs during sleep and is only diagnosed if a reason for death cannot be determined during an autopsy.
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) NAS is an especially frequent result of heroin addiction and pregnancy. It occurs in babies who are exposed to drugs in the womb and experience withdrawal symptoms after birth.
Placental Abruption When the placenta separates from the uterus before the child is born, it is known as a placental abruption. This can prevent the baby from getting oxygen and nutrients, possibly resulting in death. The mother may also experience heavy bleeding.
Engaging in any form of substance abuse while pregnant can result in various health problems for the mother and the child, including death. Heroin and pregnancy are an especially deadly combination.
At Banyan Delaware, we know how heroin affects pregnancy, but are also aware that even expecting mothers have trouble quitting their addiction, despite the harm it can cause. Addiction is a horrible disease that doesn’t automatically go away.
Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.
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