I Know Someone Who is Pregnant and Addicted to Opioids. What can I do to Help?
Mothers-to-be who are addicted to opioids are in a difficult situation as they are not only threatening their lives but also the lives of their unborn children. Those who have someone in their life who is suffering from this addiction and has also learned they are pregnant need to be there to offer support for her during this incredibly difficult time.
While many people in the pregnant woman’s life may want to help, they may be unsure of how to do it. Fortunately, there are several ways loved ones can offer a helping hand.
Listen Without Judgement to the Mother
Those who want to help a pregnant woman with an opioid addiction are likely not going to intentionally judge her. However, sometimes the words a person may use could come across as being judgmental. Words such as ‘junkie’ and ‘addict’ will potentially hurt a person. Instead, words such as ‘opioid use disorder’ and ‘person suffering from an addictive disease’ should be used.
Compassion and reassurance are some of the best ways to support a person suffering from an opioid addiction. This includes the choice of words that are used, and they should be used carefully.
Supporting Prenatal Care in Ohio
Pregnant women with opioid addictions are less likely to seek help for both their addiction and their pregnancy. They are often scared that healthcare providers will find out about their addiction, and they fear being judged further. However, prenatal care is of vital importance to every pregnant woman, especially those suffering from addiction. Due to this, supporting prenatal care, and helping the woman find the care that is right for her, is one of the best ways to help.
Loved ones can start by talking to the woman about the importance of care for her and her unborn baby. They can also help the woman find the right provider by either asking others who are in recovery or speaking to doctors and healthcare providers and asking them about their thoughts on addiction.
Women are sometimes reluctant to take themselves to these appointments once they are made. Even just going with her to provide support before, during, and after the appointment can offer the reassurance pregnant women need.
Getting Treatment for the Opioid Addiction
Making sure the baby and the mother are as healthy as possible during the pregnancy should be the first priority for both the mother and her loved ones. It is also important, however, that treatment for the addiction is also addressed at some point during the pregnancy. The sooner a pregnant woman can get treatment, the less likely it is that the drug will pose a risk to the unborn child.
Loved ones can help her work towards recovery by recommending she ask her doctor about possible treatments. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has many different resources available to anyone suffering from addiction in any state as well. However, it is important to not suggest she take herself off opioids without the help of a doctor, as this can have a severely negative impact on the fetus.
Answers for Family Members About Helping Pregnant Women Addicted to Opioids
Pregnancy and birth are supposed to be very happy times. When an expectant mother is suffering from an addiction to opioids though, it can be very stressful. Loved ones who want to help should know there are several ways to offer the support the mother needs. Whether that support takes the form of driving her to doctor appointments, looking for recovery options, or just listening to her, they all can be very helpful and contribute towards a healthy delivery.