What are the Harmful Effects of Herion Use During Pregnancy?

Doctors have long been aware of the harmful effects of heroin use during pregnancy. One of the most painful realities is it causes birth defects. There are many other affects that have come to light in recent years. Many pregnant women did not realize how severe and preventable many of these can be.

It was not until the opioid crisis began spreading throughout America in the 2000s that it became a mainstream concern. Heroin doesn’t care if you are pregnant. In fact, heroin doesn’t care about anything other than getting you hooked and controlling your life 24 hours a day.

This article will discuss some recent findings regarding the treatment of heroin use during pregnancy. We will also discuss how treatment centers for pregnant women are working to manage the problem. Some prescription pills can fall into these categories.

Some Facts about Heroin and its Abuse

Heroin abuse is nothing new, but it has made a resurgence throughout the United States in recent years. Heroin is a highly addictive member of the opioid family. Its abuse causes repercussions extending far beyond individual users. The consequences of heroin abuse may include other medical and social risks including

  • hepatitis
  • fetal effects
  • crime
  • violence
  • disruptions within the family, workplace, and educational environments

In recent years, the number of people using heroin has been on a steady rise. This is at least partially due to a shift from the misuse of prescription pain medications to heroin. Heroin is a readily available alternative that is cheap and strong. However, it is an illegal controlled substance, and having it in one’s possession is a crime that can land you in jail.

Like most chronic diseases, heroin addiction can be treated. There are medications that treat addiction while reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms. There are now various treatments, including therapy and medication that aim to treat the root causes of addiction and the co-occurring conditions that often accompany addiction. The right medication, in combination with behavioral therapy, is proven to be effective. In Fort Lauderdale, FL, there are even addiction treatment centers specifically for pregnant women showing excellent results.

Some General Information on the Harmful Effects of Heroin Use During Pregnancy


The effects of heroin use during pregnancy can result in a multitude of problems, including neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). NAS is a condition that occurs when heroin passes through the placenta to the fetus during pregnancy. This may cause the unborn baby to become addicted, along with the mother. Symptoms of this condition can include anything from:

  1. uncontrollable crying
  2. high fever
  3. general irritability
  4. slower than average weight gain,
  5. seizures and tremors
  6. diarrhea and vomiting
  7. death including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

NAS typically requires hospitalization and treatment for the infant (potentially with morphine) to relieve symptoms. It can take an undetermined time until the medication is tapered off, and the baby becomes opioid-free.

Buprenorphine Treatment May Help to Curb the Harmful Effects of Heroin Use During Pregnancy

Our drug rehabs for pregnant women in Fort Lauderdale are using Suboxone to help women who are carrying babies.

Buprenorphine or Suboxone is one of the newer medications approved by the FDA for treating opioid addiction and is preferred by many treatment centers for pregnant women. It is often preferred because it has weaker opioid effects than methadone and is less likely to trigger an overdose. Buprenorphine is also preferred because it produces a lower level of dependence. Patients who discontinue the medication will usually have fewer and less severe withdrawal symptoms than do individuals who stop taking methadone.

Prior to Buprenorphine, Methadone has been used for the last 40+ years. When properly used, methadone safely and effectively treats heroin addiction. In the United States, however, using it as a treatment for addiction is heavily regulated. When combined with counseling and other supportive services, methadone allows patients to discontinue the use of heroin and other drugs while returning to more stable and productive lives.

In a different study, The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA)-sponsored a clinical trial indicating that the treatment of opioid-dependent mothers with buprenorphine is safe for both the mother and the unborn child. After birth, infants in the study required less morphine and shorter hospital stays than infants of mothers on methadone maintenance treatment. The same research also indicated that when buprenorphine is combined with naloxone, it is equally safe for treating babies born with NAS.

Treatment Centers for Pregnant Women

Along with the increased danger from the effects of heroin use during pregnancy, there is also an increase in the number and availability of addiction treatment centers that specialize in treating women. During the writing of this article, we had the opportunity to visit with folks from The Source Treatment Center in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

William Rodman, a director at The Source Treatment Center, says, “We recognized the need and responded by creating a residential treatment center where pregnant women could feel safe and be in a loving environment. Nearly all our clients are victims of past trauma and, as such, have become fragile human beings. Our program combines treatment, recovery, and sober living with the joys and responsibilities of motherhood.”

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) published a report in 2010, indicating that less than 1/3 of all states have addiction treatment programs specifically for treating pregnant women. Women say that they fear legal problems or even the loss of their children if they seek treatment. The stigma needs to change, and women should see themselves empowered to seek addiction treatment for self-improvement and to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

There are not many options for women search for drug rehabs for pregnant women in Fort Lauderdale Florida. Hopefully, as treatment centers gain a more thorough insight of pregnant women’s plights, they can provide more services to the underserved population. We need tailored programs to work with families and individuals while building a strong foundation for recovery. Specialized treatment centers with specific curriculum’s for pregnant women help these women begin their sober journey and develop healthy life skills for both mom and baby.

Addiction Treatment Center Rehabilitation Services for Pregnant Women with Heroin Use During Pregnancy

Hopefully you found this article in time if you are seeking addiction treatment centers near Fort Lauderdale, Florida for pregnant women. Pregnant women choosing to participate in an addiction treatment program, also receive basic prenatal care and checkups and any required medical treatment. Other services, including nutritional counseling, healthful diet plans, and proper sleep schedules, are all monitored, improving the health of both the mother and unborn baby.

Mental health issues are an essential aspect of treatment. Many addicted women are dually diagnosed and require psychotherapy. Both individual and group therapy sessions are essential. Group sessions typically take place with other pregnant women and provide the ability to focus on issues that may be specific to the group. Women discuss and learn proper parenting techniques and coping mechanisms for stress during group sessions.

Trauma therapies probe into issues that may have led to the initial abuse of drugs. Women purposefully learn new ways of thinking and how to support healthy behaviors and habits in the future. Women may also receive counseling on how to handle the pain of childbirth and discuss other medical concerns that can arise during pregnancy and delivery. Narcotic pain medications are discouraged and may need to be substituted with over-the-counter ones following birth.

Support groups for pregnant women who struggle with addiction provide strength and encouragement for maintaining long-term sobriety. Groups often form to specifically foster a healthy social and peer network for pregnant women dealing with the effects of heroin use during pregnancy provide a high level of emotional support and understanding. Additionally, Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) are usually available and may help support a sustained recovery. Here are some good intensive outpatient addiction treatment programs in south Florida;

Help is Available now for Women Dealing with the Effects of Heroin Use during Pregnancy


The Source Treatment Center understands you want to deliver a healthy baby. We also understand there are not may resources for addiction treatment centers for pregnant women in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Under the best of circumstances, women face many potential complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Some may require medical care or mental health support. When you add addiction to the mix, all treatment providers need to be coordinated and work together to devise and implement a comprehensive care plan.

Addiction treatment programs for pregnant women are highly specialized in helping women through pregnancy, childbirth, and attaining long-term recovery. If you or someone you love is pregnant and suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, help is available right now by calling The Source Treatment Center at (800) 204-0418.