Addiction Treatment During Pregnancy: Exploring 2 Safe Medications

What treatment is available for pregnant women?

Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is a disease that anyone can suffer, from teenagers to adults, and it does not exclude pregnant women. It takes courage, commitment, and strength to seek help and treatment for this dependence. The journey to sobriety is challenging, and it becomes even more complicated when considering addiction treatment during pregnancy. In these cases, individuals and medical staff must take extra precautions to preserve the health and life of both the baby and the expectant mother. Thankfully, there are safe and effective treatment options available. Some are left wondering, “What treatment is available for pregnant women?” in this MAT Care Clinics blog, we provide a detailed explanation of the three safe medication-assisted treatment (MAT) approaches for addressing SUD during pregnancy.

Why Should I Seek Addiction Treatment During Pregnancy?

Substance dependence, encompassing alcohol, opioids, and other illicit drugs, carries severe consequences for the health and well-being of individuals. In the case of pregnant women, these devastating effects also extend to the health and well-being of their unborn child. Therefore, seeking addiction treatment during pregnancy is paramount to mitigating the risks posed to the baby when the mother continues substance use.

According to research from the international journal Obstetric Medicine, here are some of the potential repercussions that mothers and their children may face due to substance use during pregnancy:

  • Alcohol: The use of alcohol during pregnancy elevates the risk for fetal development complications and long-term health conditions in the child. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) rank as the leading known preventable birth defects and developmental disabilities globally. Studies indicate that even low levels of alcohol consumption during pregnancy can impact embryonic development, leading to FASD. Furthermore, heavy alcohol consumption during pregnancy is associated with several adverse outcomes, including miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight, preterm delivery, and infant mortality. It’s also linked to growth deficits, behavioral problems, and cognitive and motor deficits in children.
  • Opioids: Opioid dependence during pregnancy can have various negative consequences for both the mother and the baby. These risks include Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), characterized by withdrawal symptoms in newborns such as tremors, irritability, excessive crying, diarrhea, and seizures. There’s also an increased risk of cardiovascular defects. Moreover, expectant mothers who use opioids face an elevated risk of death during hospitalization and other adverse outcomes during pregnancy, such as intrauterine growth restriction, low birth weight, preeclampsia, preterm delivery, and stillbirth.

For many women, pregnancy serves as a motivation to cease substance use, reduce their consumption, and enroll in MAT programs. In the following section, we will delve into approved and safe medications for addiction treatment during pregnancy.

Approved Dependence Treatment for Pregnant Women

MAT is an approach that employs FDA-approved medications to address SUD. Prominent among these medications are buprenorphine and methadone, both approved for use in pregnant women.

Buprenorphine:

Suboxone, a product containing buprenorphine, is an oral medication that combines buprenorphine and naloxone. This combination aids in blocking the intoxicating effects of substances while reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Research has shown that taking Suboxone while pregnant improves birth outcomes in women with SUD. A study conducted by the College of Family Physicians of Canada confirmed the safety of buprenorphine-naloxone as a substitution therapy for opioid dependence during pregnancy. Furthermore, the study revealed that buprenorphine-naloxone is a safe and effective opioid agonist, equivalent or even superior to methadone in managing opioid dependence during pregnancy.

Methadone:

Like buprenorphine, methadone is a safe and effective treatment for women with SUD. It has been used since the 1970s to treat women with opioid use disorder. However, studies suggest that treatment with buprenorphine or Suboxone yields more satisfactory results. The choice between methadone and buprenorphine largely depends on the availability of treatment and the individual patient’s medical history. Both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Society of Addiction Medicine endorse methadone and buprenorphine as the best options for addiction treatment during pregnancy.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) highlights the benefits of buprenorphine or methadone treatment during pregnancy, including reduced prenatal withdrawal, improved linkage of mothers to infectious disease treatment, long-term health outcomes for both mother and infant, enhanced prenatal care, reduced risk and less severe presentation of NAS, and increased gestational age, birth weight, and head circumference compared to mothers not receiving methadone or buprenorphine treatment.

MAT Care Clinics and Suboxone Treatment

Professional guidance is of utmost importance when seeking addiction treatment during pregnancy, and taking Suboxone while pregnant is not only safe but also one of the most effective methods for safeguarding the health of both the mother and the fetus. At MAT Care Clinics, we offer support to all individuals, pregnant or not, in their journey towards a substance-free life.

At our clinic in Nashua, we are committed to extending help to everyone who walks through our doors, regardless of whether they hail from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, or any other part of the country. Taking Suboxone while pregnant, coupled with psychological therapies, can assist patients in overcoming physical, social, and emotional barriers to recovery.

To begin a safe addiction treatment during pregnancy, contact us by dialing (833) 622-0628 or scheduling a free consultation online.

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