Substance abuse can cause various adverse health effects and long-term consequences for you and those surrounding you. If you are working through the recovery process and discover you are pregnant, the effects of relapsing are drastically increased. You are no longer working through the recovery process for yourself but also for the child you are now responsible for.
Fear of Honesty
Many concerns can arise with the combination of being in recovery and being pregnant. Along with the potential harm to you and your child, if a relapse occurs, there are a variety of legal issues to be aware of. If you are caught relapsing or neglecting to care for your child properly, there is a potential for child protective services to get involved.
As you are already working to make some challenging adjustments, having your child potentially taken from you can be emotionally unbearable. Some women fear this occurrence so much that they take extreme precautions to avoid getting caught in a relapse. By missing treatment meetings and hiding relapses from their recovery team, they try to avoid some of the consequences of relapsing.
However, relapsing while pregnant can be incredibly dangerous. It is important to continue working through the recovery process and being honest about your relapses. The consequences will likely be much more severe if you are caught trying to hide your relapses. With or without pregnancy, the ultimate goal of treatment is to maintain sobriety. Full sobriety is expected when pregnant; however, if you do relapse, it is essential to communicate that with your treatment team.
Disregarding a relapse in fear of the potential consequences can push you back onto the path of addiction. Following the five recovery rules can help you prevent a relapse. Relapses can be hard to overcome, especially if you are hiding this obstacle from your support team. Learning from the relapse is important to avoid future harm to yourself and your child.
Negative Health Effects
The use of substances while pregnant can greatly increase the potential for negative health conditions to arise in you and your child. The child can be impacted by developing birth defects that may affect them for the remainder of their life. The possibility of miscarriage or stillbirth is also greatly increased.
Along with these potential long-term health effects, it is also possible for the baby to develop an addiction to the substance as well. If the baby is presented with a substance consistently while in the womb, it may develop a dependence on that substance. When the child is born, they will no longer be receiving that substance and may experience symptoms of withdrawal.
Being aware of the following symptoms can help you to determine if your child is struggling with withdrawal after birth:
- Blotchy skin
- Excessive crying
- Abnormal sucking reflex
- Rapid breathing
- Excessive vomiting
- Sleeping problems
Some of these symptoms are mild and may be easy for the child to overcome. However, many of them are more dangerous and painful. Excessive withdrawal symptoms in infants could become fatal. Working through these symptoms as a newborn puts great pressure on their body and immune system.
Not only is relapsing a concern for both you and your baby while you are pregnant, but it also can be a concern after the child is born. If you are breastfeeding, the nutrients you consume feed your child. If you continue to use a substance while breastfeeding, you can continue to feed the child’s dependence on these chemicals.
Take on the Challenge
Continuing your recovery success is no longer just for you but for you and your child. Maintaining sobriety can greatly increase your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and setting your child up for a healthy life. Use this moment as a challenge for you to continue your recovery success. This puts a lot more risk on the line if you do experience a relapse. Choose to see this situation as a motivating factor to keep yourself on track for a full recovery.
While many parts of addiction are involuntary, focus on the aspects that you can make adjustments to. If you focus on the steps that you do have control over, you can use the skills you have gained to maintain sobriety and recover from your addiction.
Continuing to stay sober as the child grows can help you provide your child with a safe and nurturing environment. Taking care of a child can be hard if you are constantly distracted by substance use. Letting go of addiction and working toward your best self could not come at a better time. Use the skills you have learned throughout treatment to help you maintain a sober lifestyle for your family.
Working through recovery and avoiding relapses is a challenge on its own. When pregnancy is added into the mix, a lot more risk is involved. The potential consequences a relapse can have on both you and your child can be shocking, but it is important to be aware of them. Your pregnancy is an opportunity to accelerate your recovery process to ensure your child is given the support it needs. It can be a hard adjustment, but you can use this situation as a factor of motivation to stay on the path of recovery. Maintaining sobriety through this period will positively influence you and your family. Challenge yourself to do everything within your power to provide a safe structure for your child and set them up for success. To learn more about how to work through recovery while pregnant, call Dream Recovery at (949) 732-1960.