Drug addiction is a chronic medical disease caused by the compulsive use of drugs despite its adverse effects. The addiction is dangerous and can even lead to death as the patient starts to experience severe mental and physical trauma.
Sadly, it also affects women; many find out about their pregnancy while dealing with drug addiction. According to an estimate, 5% of pregnant women use drugs or addictive substances that may affect the unborn baby.
It’s never too late to start your detox journey and get clean, but you’ll need proper guidance on how to detox from drugs while pregnant.
Your choice to detox can improve the quality of life for you and the baby in several ways, so we’re here to help you through the process.
Guide to Detoxification
Continuous drug use can cause harm to the baby, and there is a viable chance of a miscarriage if a fetus is less than six weeks old.
Some drugs affect your fetus more than others; the harm done depends on how heavily you use such drugs and for how long.
On the contrary, deciding to get clean will give your baby a chance of being born healthy if you don’t miscarry. The sooner you get sober, the more chances are there for your baby to be born healthy.
Let’s have a look at the comprehensive guide to detoxification while pregnant.
Consult a Medical Professional
It’s a courageous decision to detox yourself, but you might be terrified of asking for professional help. There is nothing to be embarrassed about, and you shouldn’t try quitting drugs alone.
You should speak to a healthcare provider about your drug use to safely detox your body from drugs.
The healthcare professional will give you the best medical advice and supervise you throughout the detox process.
Most detox routines stir up toxins in your body, which circulate through the blood. The same blood carries nutrients to feed your fetus so it might get in contact with the toxins.
Also, detoxing may require significant dietary changes that can affect the pregnancy adversely. Consult a detox specialist so that he can suggest a safe detox program, excluding anything that may jeopardize the health of the baby or the mother.
Open Up About Your Drug Usage
Once you are ready for the treatment, the next crucial step is to be honest about the substance you have used and its frequency.
It’s hard to be honest about drug abuse because of the fear of your child being taken away. However, you should know that no legal action can be taken against you while pregnant.
Being honest about your drug addiction can help the healthcare professional to plan your detox process efficiently.
This is the best way through which the healthcare professional can analyze if your fetus needs any emergency medication to prevent it from having possible health issues.
Your doctor can create the best detox plan for you and your baby based on your questions.
Choosing The Right Detox Program
There are several different kinds of detox programs; some come under Medical detoxification, and some lie under Non-Medical approaches.
Look at both systems to understand how to detox your body from drugs and choose the best for yourself.
In the medical approach, addicts are given medications to prevent them from experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
When you start cutting down on drugs such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates, there is a high chance of seizures that require immediate medical attention. Hence, medical detoxification is an efficient means of detoxification.
The patient can stay under the supervision of a healthcare professional for up to 24 hours for seven days or longer.
Medications are given to offer relief for symptoms of withdrawal and detox, known as MAT(Medical Assisted Treatment). MAT is usually paired with behavioral therapy and one-on-one counseling for safe drug detox during pregnancy.
Patients may experience Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms( PAWS) for six to nine months, which is why there is a higher chance of relapse. Chances of relapse are higher during the first year, but using MAT in the post-treatment can reduce it.
Non-Medical Approach/ Social Detox
Social detox involves non-medical approaches to detoxification, including psychological and emotional support throughout the detox process.
Moreover, no medical intervention takes place. This can be dangerous for patients addicted to alcohol or benzodiazepines as they might experience severe withdrawal symptoms such as seizures or heart attacks.
Nonetheless, social detox can help individuals recover from the psychological effects of the drugs.
Choose a Healthy Diet And Stay Hydrated
Pregnant women need higher calories than average women, so be vigilant of your nutritional needs while following a detox program.
Some detox programs require fasting and restricting your diet to foods such as juice or maple syrup.
All these detox programs are unsafe for the baby and are a big NO for pregnant women. Some detox treatments, such as colon irrigation or spa skin wraps, aim to remove toxins from a specific body organ.
These treatments can cause abnormal urination, sweating, and bowel movement, leading to possible dehydration.
Chances of dehydration in pregnant women undergoing such treatments increase as there is a higher need to stay hydrated.
Dehydration can also put your child at risk and cause electrolyte imbalance; hence, taking fluids is vital.
Manage Withdrawal Symptoms
Managing your body’s physiological response to slowing or cutting down on the use of drugs is probably the most challenging part of the detox process.
Different types of drugs may cause a combination of mental, physical, and emotional symptoms.
The symptoms can be dangerous if they are left untreated, such as:
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive sweating
When you decide to get sober, talk to your doctor about managing the withdrawal symptoms comfortably.
A medically supervised detox process is much safer for the mother and the baby and has a lesser chance of a relapse.
Medical professionals can observe vital signs of withdrawal like high blood pressure or body temperature and administer appropriate medication.
Adapting To a Healthier Lifestyle
Detox from drugs requires a 360-degree change to a healthier lifestyle; everything should revolve around what’s best for the baby’s health.
Start eating fruits and vegetables to help your body flush the toxins from your kidneys and liver.
Take vital supplements to replenish your body’s nutritional supply. Lastly, rest properly and surround yourself with loved ones to get all the physical and mental support you need.
Detoxifying from drugs is challenging and can pose serious threats to the mother and baby, so seeking medical help and guidance is crucial throughout detox.
Post-detox monitoring and follow-ups are essential to the treatment as they suppress the chance of a relapse.
Post-detox monitoring can also highlight possible problems the mother or the child may face.
With support and guidance on how to detox from drugs while pregnant, you can ensure a drug-free life for you and the baby. Don’t hesitate to seek help, as it’s never too late to start your detox journey.
Will my baby have problems after birth because of my addiction during pregnancy?
If you have been using drugs called opioids, they can pass through the placenta and reach the baby. Then, the newborn might show conditions referred to as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) caused by withdrawing drugs.
Call your medical healthcare provider if you notice the baby seizing, twitching, high fever, throwing up, or anything unusual.
What are the best foods to eat during a pregnancy detox?
The nutrition requirements increase when you are pregnant; hence, adapt to more nutritious food options. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the foods to eat to detox your body from drugs.
Protein-rich food sources such as legumes, fish, poultry, seeds, and nuts should also be taken after consulting your healthcare provider.
Is detox safe for the healthy development of the baby?
Certain detox programs involve using supplements and herbs that may not be safe for the baby’s health.
It is crucial to avoid any supplements not government-approved in the initial stages when the baby’s vital organs are developing.
How long does the body take to detox from drugs?
The detoxification process may take several days to several years, depending on various factors, including the substance you have used, its severity, and frequency.
Some substances leave you craving them long after you cut down on their use, such as alcohol; hence, the detox time will be longer.