Many misconceptions exist regarding pregnancy and opioid dependency. It is vitally important if you are pregnant that you seek assistance immediately from a professional that is knowledgeable. A methadone treatment program can help you with this. We can offer you helpful referrals or admit you to treatment, immediately addressing your needs and that of your baby. Misinformation is rampant among many health and addiction professionals and it is very important that you get the most up-to-date and accurate information available regarding your health and that of your baby. The first thing you should know is that if you are pregnant the best thing for you and your baby is to receive treatment immediately.
Read below for important information you should know if you are pregnant.
Pregnancy - Myths and Realities:
Myth - A woman addicted to opioids that is pregnant must detox.
Fact - Detox and/or active addiction can be very detrimental to the developing fetus. A fetus whose mother is in methadone maintenance treatment remains much more stable, healthy, and has a far better outcome than a woman in active addiction, who is exposing her fetus to all the risks inherent in that lifestyle. A woman in treatment receives excellent prenatal care and is monitored and educated throughout her pregnancy and post natally. Think of it this way - Everything you experience when is active addiction, the fetus is experiencing as well- withdrawal, exposure to impure "cuts", anxiety, over-medication, exposure to disease and all other risks inherent with this lifestyle. If a pregnant mother decides to go through detox, she is submitting her developing fetus to the same extreme conditions she herself is going through. Even the Federal Government recognizes that methadone treatment is the treatment of choice for opioid dependent mothers. "The continued use of heroin during pregnancy is life threatening to both the woman and her fetus because of the risks of infection, overdose, and intrauterine withdrawal. Methadone is currently the standard of care in the United States and has been shown to be safe and effective in both pregnant women and neonates." TIP 40 SAMHSA
Myth - Methadone maintained women should not breast feed.
Fact - Breastfeeding has proven to be more beneficial to a child than the risks associated with the miniscule amount of methadone that is passed through the breast milk. "For women who are not HIV positive and are on methadone, breastfeeding is the best option." CSAT
Myth - A mother on methadone will have an addicted baby.
Fact - Roughly half of all babies born to mothers in methadone treatment are born with some dependency and half have no symptoms at all. The dependent babies are usually treated in the hospital neonatal unit and weaned off methadone with no residual problems. Numerous studies have shown that there are no negative outcomes to the baby associated with their mother being on methadone. In fact, studies have shown little or no difference between these babies and "normal" babies.
Babies are incapable of being "addicted", as addiction involves a set of behaviors that babies are not yet capable of. Babies MAY be born dependent but that is NOT the same as being addicted, and they can be safely monitored and weaned off in the hospital after birth.
This is just an example of the false information found not only through possibly your friends and family, but with many in the medical community as well. The importance of becoming appropriately educated regarding these issues cannot be stressed enough.
For accurate information regarding treatment, resources, referrals and other important information please contact the knowledgeable staff at MARS and/or visit the websites below.
This is a website dedicated to methadone and pregnancy.
For more information you may try any of these websites where you will find very knowledgeable patient advocates and lots and lots of information:
NAMA: We speak Methadone
If you choose treatment at MARS be assured that you and your baby will get the best care available for your special needs. MARS excels at educating, counseling and tracking mom and babies progress throughout pregnancy and post natally as well.
Our knowledge of community resources will guide you through the entire experience in a seamless and caring manner so that you may have the most fulfilling experience possible.