A pilot addiction treatment program in Madison, Wisconsin has been helping women who are pregnant and struggling with substance use disorders for free.
The program, dubbed Pregnancy2Recovery, is the first of its kind in the country and it was designed to help expecting mothers by connecting them with certified addiction recovery coaches.
All of the recovery coaches are individuals who have struggled with a substance use disorder and have had similar experiences in the past. They provide support to the pregnant women by developing close relationships with them and linking them to any service or resource that they may need.
The Pregnancy2Recovery team will promote the benefits of medication assisted treatment and continue to provide assistance to the women after they give birth.
The supervisor of the program, Tanya Kraege, stated that the postpartum period is critically risky for all women who have been through an addiction treatment program to relapse.
She explained that although stigma is a problem for most people who have an addiction, it is a worse issue for the women who are expecting because they are often judged by society for not stopping the drug use as soon as they find out that they are pregnant.
There are several well-known risks associated with drug use during gestation. The expecting mother may experience many adversities, such as premature deliveries, miscarriages, and stillbirths. Concurrently, their newborn babies are also exposed to congenital deficiencies and may have brain and/or spine development problems as well as other birth defects, such as gastroschisis — a defect in the formation of the infant’s stomach in which an opening in the baby’s abdominal wall is formed and the intestines stick outside through the hole, next to the belly button.
Yet, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that there are also dangerous consequences for pregnant women who have been taking opioid painkillers and decide to stop taking the substance too quickly.
Additionally, the CDC has indicated that in some instances it is actually worse for these women to avoid or quit taking their medications than to continue using the medications — due to the fact that abruptly quitting can also expose the pregnant women to experiencing stillbirths and/or miscarriages.
Kraege added that the best… (continue reading)