Detoxing While Pregnant

Detoxing While Pregnant

detox pregnant

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If you use drugs and alcohol while pregnant, you may develop a substance use disorder (SUD). When this condition sets in, it becomes a challenge to stop using drugs. But help is available. Using drugs and alcohol while pregnant dramatically increases the risk of severe health complications for you and your unborn child. Seeking treatment for your substance use disorder is the best thing you can do for yourself and your baby. This begins by entering a supervised detox program.


Effects of Drugs and Alcohol Use While Pregnant

The drugs you use reach your baby through your placenta, through which the baby feeds and gets oxygen. According to the National Library of Medicine, there is a relationship between drug use and stillbirth. Using alcohol, illegal drugs, pain relievers, marijuana, or tobacco during pregnancy increases the chances of stillbirth. Other complications associated with substance abuse during pregnancy include:


  • Stillbirth
  • Miscarriage
  • Premature Birth
  • Newborn Death
  • Placental Abruption
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
  • Low Birth Weight
  • Birth Defects
  • Heart Defects
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Fetal Addiction
  • Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome (NOWS)
  • Maternal Mortality


Unfortunately, some of these effects cannot be reversed. However, detoxifying can save you and your unborn baby from the agony of bearing the adverse consequences of drug and alcohol use. Note that everything you consume will affect your fetus in one way or another, whether the baby is still in your womb or you have delivered. For example, an unborn child with fetal addiction will continue to have this problem even after birth.


Medical Detox for Pregnant Women

If you are substance dependent and have become pregnant, seeking professional addiction treatment can be a matter of life or death. Entering a Medical detox is a smart and safe step toward getting sober. Medical detox mitigates the dangers and adverse withdrawal symptoms.


Understanding that your withdrawal will also affect the fetus, doctors must design a program that protects the baby so that you can have a safe delivery. Doctors know how to meet the unique needs of every patient struggling with maternal addiction. With the help of healthcare providers like our team at Liberty Bay Recovery, you can safely and comfortably overcome your addiction.


What to Expect During the Detox Process

Detox is the first step toward treating substance use disorder. However, detoxing is just the first phase of the recovery journey. Generally, detox alone is not enough to establish solid and sustainable sobriety. It only helps to cleanse your body in preparation for medical treatment. During medical detox, the doctor will remove the addictive substances and toxins from your body.


The number of days this process takes depends on how long you have used the addictive substance. You will need close supervision by medical professionals because they will need to administer drugs to keep you comfortable and ensure that the effects of detox don’t lead to other medical complications.


Your healthcare providers will create a tapering schedule to help you adjust to the loss of toxins and drugs leaving your body. Tapering is also necessary to treat your psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms, which may linger after detox and cause relapse if you don’t follow an aftercare program.


According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40% to 60% of drug addicts start using again. Medical detox can reduce the cravings that are the leading cause of relapse.


Detoxification itself comes with challenges, mostly tied to withdrawal symptoms. That’s why it is essential to detox in the presence of a medical expert who understands the challenges of the process. Detoxification is also vital for unearthing underlying issues causing your addiction.


Why Detoxing at Home is Not Safe

Medical experts strongly advise against detoxing at home. The main reason is that the detox process also has its share of side effects, some of which can be fatal. That’s why you should detoxify in a medical facility. Its staff will also assess your condition to create a unique treatment program that meets your needs.


The assessments will cover both your mental and physical health needs. If you have a mental health disorder or other underlying medical conditions, your doctor will address all that. As a pregnant woman, detoxing in a residential (inpatient) setting is best if possible. If not, your doctor can recommend an outpatient setting with close supervision.


Do not try to detox on your own. Remember that abruptly stopping drug or alcohol use is dangerous for you and your baby. When you suddenly stop using the harmful substance you have been using for a long time, your body and your fetus will be shocked, and you will run the risk of seizures, stillbirth, or miscarriage.


How Long Does Medical Detox Take?

The length of time you will spend in a detox facility depends on factors including:


  • Lifestyle, Dietary Habits, Genetics, Weight, and Age.
  • Mental and Physical Health History
  • Duration and Amount of Use
  • Polysubstance Use
  • Substance(s) Used
  • Method of Use


The medical staff will ask you questions to get an answer to the above issues before designing a suitable treatment plan for you. The doctors can also run clinical trials to get further information. How long your stay at the facility will depend on how you respond to these tests.


If your addiction involves medicines, the doctor will determine which drugs are safe for you and your unborn child. They will also explain their medications’ side effects and risks, so you understand what you are taking.


Treatment Options After Detox

It is after detox that proper treatment begins. There are two options: inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment.


If you are addicted and pregnant, your chosen treatment facility should be well-staffed, reputable, and accredited. Also, ensure the facility specializes in helping pregnant women and offers postnatal care, just in case you give birth there.


A good treatment facility educates clients and gives them the tools to maintain sobriety. Their programs should include childcare, counseling, and mental health treatment. In addition, the classes should cover parenting, nutrition, breastfeeding, and pregnancy topics.


If your doctor recommends a full-time program, you will reside in the facility for at least 30 days; you can stay for as long as three months, which is the ideal duration for proper treatment. If an outpatient program is recommended, you will continue to live in your home as you receive treatment.


Both outpatient and inpatient programs provide services such as:


  • Illness Management and Recovery (IMR)
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP)
  • Relapse Prevention
  • 12-Step Work
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Life Skills Training
  • Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)
  • Individual and Group Therapy


These therapies and evidence-based approaches provide effective treatment and help achieve long-term recovery success. Behavioral therapies are commonly utilized by addiction and mental health treatment facilities. Behavioral therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) focus on teaching clients skills that will help them identify, interrupt, and challenge negative thoughts and behaviors.


Your Recovery Is in Your Hands

Pregnancy is an exciting journey, but it has its challenges. Because you don’t want substance abuse disorder to be one of them, you might be tempted to stop using drugs or alcohol when you find out you are pregnant, but doing so can harm you and your baby.


If you are struggling with drug or alcohol use, and your pregnancy test result is positive, consult a doctor immediately.


You will be admitted into a treatment facility where you will be under the care of highly trained medical professionals who can help with any medical emergency. All reputable addiction treatment facilities offer treatment in supervised environments.


What Comes After Detox and Rehab

The steps you can take to stay sober after treatment include:


Develop a Support Network and Recovery Community

Break ties with your substance-abusing friends. Build relationships with sober people and be active in your recovery community.



If you find it hard to leave old friends, you can relocate to a new region.


Attend All Appointments and Meetings

Missing your appointments may lead to a relapse.


Focus on Your Mental Health

Returning to your old ways can lead to anxiety and stress, especially if the memories cause cravings. Instead, try to avoid negative thoughts and focus on positive thoughts for your mental health.


Join a Support Group

Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous NA) can help you maintain sobriety.


Help Others

Helping other addicts will help you to stay sober. Find a friend struggling with addiction and try to help but be careful not to be influenced by the friend to return to your old ways.



Involving yourself in physical activities will keep you busy while helping to eliminate toxins from your body as you sweat. Choose safe workouts and those who have recently given birth.


Find Help at Liberty Bay Recovery Center

At Liberty Bay Recovery Center, we are here to help you in your journey to sobriety. Call us today to start one of our recovery programs with the guidance of caring staff.