Can I Safely Detox While Pregnant?

Drug detox is widely thought to be the most excruciating step of the recovery process. The first few days after your last drug use or drink of alcohol are fraught with emotional challenges, cravings and painful symptoms. 

While detox is never a walk in the park, going through drug detox while pregnant is even harder. If you or a loved one is pregnant and considering going through detox, it’s important to know that detoxing now is important for your safety and the health of both you and your growing baby.

What are the risks of substance use while pregnant? 

According to the American Addiction Centers, about 1 in 20 women reported using illicit drugs while pregnant and 1 in 10 reported drinking alcohol while pregnant. Consuming drugs and alcohol while pregnant can have serious consequences for both the mother and her unborn baby.

Drug and alcohol use during pregnancy can cause severe health consequences for infants. When harmful substances like opioids or alcohol are taken, they cross from the mother’s system to the placenta, affecting the developing fetus.

A study by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development found that smoking marijuana or tobacco, taking prescription pain relievers or using dangerous drugs during pregnancy resulted in double or even triple the risk of stillbirth.

Another common effect is called neonatal abstinence syndrome, in which a newborn experiences drug withdrawal after birth. This abrupt detox that the baby has to go through can cause fevers, crying, trembling, vomiting, feeding issues, seizures and more. 

Moreover, drug use during pregnancy can contribute to long-term adverse effects like premature birth, birth defects, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Can I detox from drugs while I’m pregnant?

The risks of continuing to use substances while pregnant can be devastating, so seeking professional help for a drug or alcohol addiction as soon as possible is your best bet for you and your growing baby. In order to complete drug detox while pregnant, there are some special considerations you’ll want to think about. 

The first consideration is attending a medical detox facility. While some detox programs offer outpatient or inpatient services, you’ll want to ensure you are attending a medically supervised detox center. This way, you’ll have full support and access to medical and mental health care 24/7.

When undergoing detox while pregnant, you’ll also want to make sure you have the help of a psychiatrist on your collaborative care team. A psychiatrist will be able to prescribe medications that can reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms without resulting in pregnancy complications, preterm labor or harm to the fetus.

What are some of the risks of detox?

When you participate in a drug detox program while pregnant, there are certain health risks to be aware of. For example, the risk of seizures during detox from alcohol is a risk that could have negative long term effects on your baby. Managing alcohol withdrawal with medication can reduce your risk of seizures during pregnancy.

Additionally, nausea and vomiting are common during drug and alcohol detox. This can result in dehydration and a deficiency of nutrients and vitamins in your system. Both you and your baby require significant nourishment during pregnancy, so your care team during detox will need to focus on keeping your body fueled.

What are the long term benefits of detoxing during pregnancy?

The thought of enduring detox when your body is already so taxed by pregnancy can feel daunting, but it’s much less difficult than the alternative. Continuing to use substances is harmful for both you and your baby in the long term.

With the right support, completing detox and continuing on in recovery will help you feel better physically and mentally, find stability, focus on the future, create more meaningful relationships and have the capacity to enjoy your family without cravings getting in the way. It’s worth the effort to build a future you can be proud of.

If you’ve delayed reaching out for help because you’re worried your baby will be taken away at birth if you admit to drug use while pregnant, you’re not alone. Counselors and social workers at Freedom Detox can help you take control of your life and empower you to break free from drug addiction so you can focus on what really matters.
Call Freedom Detox today to start your recovery journey. Our compassionate, non-judgmental staff are here to help.