The Impact of Heroin on Expectant Mothers and Their Babies
Heroin is an extremely dangerous drug for anyone, but for expectant mothers, the dangers to them and their unborn child are enormous. Heroin use can complicate delivery and cause a variety of other serious health problems for both mother and baby.
What Is Heroin?
Sometimes known as dope, junk, or smack, heroin is an illegal opioid drug. Seeds from poppy plants are used to make prescription opioids such as morphine, oxycodone, and codeine. These powerful drugs are prescribed to treat pain following surgery or serious injury and are controlled substances due to their potential for abuse.
Heroin derives from morphine and can take several forms. It can be a brown or white powder or a black, sticky goo known as black tar heroin. Users can smoke, snort, or inject the drug. Often, heroin use occurs after someone is prescribed an opioid, but they struggle to take it as prescribed, and as a result, they seek that same high from other sources.
How Heroin Can Harm Your Health
Heroin stimulates your central nervous system and can change how your brain functions by altering neurological activity like breathing and heart rate. Once an addiction is formed, tolerance can develop quickly and lead to withdrawal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and severe itching if use is abruptly stopped. It can also cause:
- Respiratory distress
- Comas and permanent brain damage
- Deterioration of decision making and ability to regulate emotions
- Infections of the lungs and heart
- Liver or kidney disease
- Infections such as HIV or Hepatitis through shared needle use
How Heroin Can Harm Your Baby’s Health
Avoiding dangerous substances of any kind is imperative during pregnancy to help prevent potentially life-threatening complications for both mom and baby. If a pregnant woman abuses drugs like heroin, the complications include:
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)
NAS occurs when a baby is exposed to heroin or other drugs in the womb and after birth and displays withdrawal symptoms including high-pitched crying, hyper-irritability, seizures, sleeplessness, vomiting, excessive weight loss, poor feeding, tremors, and hyperthermia.
Stillbirth or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
A stillbirth occurs when a baby dies in the womb and is then delivered. SIDS can occur up to one year after birth.
Low Birth Weight
Substance use during pregnancy increases the risk of premature birth and low birth weight, leading to severe health complications.
Physical, cognitive, and social disabilities are likely if heroin is used during pregnancy.
This condition occurs when the placenta is separated from the uterus’ lining and can cause excessive bleeding, which can be deadly for both mom and baby.
Heroin Addiction Treatment for Pregnant Mothers at The Source
The Source addiction treatment center in Fort Lauderdale offers one of the very few addiction treatment programs in the country to focus solely on pregnant women and moms with young children called The Family Place.
At The Source, you will be surrounded by knowledgeable and compassionate treatment specialists who will work with you to develop a treatment plan that fits your unique needs. Many of our staff are on their own sober journey, so they understand what you’re going through and are there to support you every step of the way.
The Source offers several levels of care and various therapy modalities to help you process the root causes of addiction and learn tools to help you be successful in recovery. A recent pregnant patient raved about the care she received, “I was greeted with love, compassion, and unending support. In addition to the beautiful housing, they took me to all my prenatal appointments, got me what I [needed] for my pregnancy when I had nothing, and most of all gave me hope that change was possible.”
We know that you may be feeling vulnerable and afraid, but we are here to help you get back on track and achieve a healthy, happy life for yourself and your baby. For more information, please contact us today.