Recent research suggests that about five percent of pregnant women use one or more addictive substances. Although the number is low, the danger of prenatal use of alcohol and illicit substances is still real for both the woman and her unborn child. The use of alcohol and certain drugs has been linked to neonatal abstinence syndrome, which causes newborns to display symptoms of drug withdrawal. On the other hand, mothers may experience complications in their pregnancy and are at risk of substance overdose. Even with these facts, some women with substance use disorder don’t seek treatment, as they fear being judged and shamed. This is why supportive relationships are critical to their recovery.
If your pregnant partner is struggling with substance abuse, your support is particularly important as you can share the burden of parenthood with her. Start by encouraging her to seek treatment and helping her look for a rehabilitation center that caters to her specific needs as a pregnant woman. Aside from this, location is another factor to consider. You may want to choose a treatment center nearest you. If you live in Florida, for example, there are Orlando drug rehab facilities that offer programs for pregnant women suffering from alcohol and substance abuse.
Most rehabs offer both outpatient and inpatient treatment programs, but your partner may be advised to choose the latter for her and her baby’s safety. Substance abuse during pregnancy poses serious risks like miscarriage and premature birth, which is why she would benefit from residential rehab’s 24-hour medical care.
Your partner may feel anxious about entering rehab, which is why you must make her feel that she is not alone in overcoming addiction. Here are some ways you can support your partner’s treatment.
Treatment for Pregnant Women
Preparation is one way to support your partner even before she enters rehab. It can help ease her worries and give you an idea of what she will go through, so get as much information as you can on her treatment plan. This will not just prepare your partner, but you’ll also have a better understanding of what her treatment process will be and know how else you can support her.
- Pre-admission Patient Assessment – Before your partner enters rehab, she needs to complete a patient assessment wherein they will assess her drug history, mental health, and medical history. This will determine the kind of treatment she will receive, so make sure you help provide all the necessary information just in case your partner forgets some details.
- Detox for Pregnant Women – Detox can only be conducted under the supervision of a physician and would depend on the substance your partner abused, the level of abuse, her current health status, and psychiatric history. Research shows that combining methadone or buprenorphine with prenatal care and treatment programs can help lower the negative effects on mother and child. If your partner has a history of opioid abuse, she may be recommended to stay on opioid-agonist pharmacotherapy to reduce symptoms of withdrawal.
- Evidence-Based Treatment – This is composed of scientifically-researched practices proven to help improve the results of the treatment. It supports other medical treatments your partner is receiving while in rehab. Here are some examples:
- Twelve-Step Facilitation Therapy – This is one of the most common types of therapy involving individual and group sessions that follow the 12-step program.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – This is another type of individual and group therapy session, where your partner is taught how to manage stressful situations, emotions, and traumatic experiences.
- Interactive Journaling – As a form of written self-reflection, this gives your partner time to think about her substance abuse and current situation. It is also a great way to create new goals and help patients look forward to their progress.
In some cases, family and other loved ones are invited to join the therapy sessions. If this happens, use the opportunity to learn more about how you can support your partner in her recovery. Listen closely as you might get tips from other individuals who have similar experiences.
Providing Emotional Support
As your partner’s main support, you play an active part in her recovery and supporting the baby’s health. One of the things you can do is to visit her as often as you can and to be punctual for appointments. Rehab facilities encourage visitors to be on time so that patients can get accustomed to set routines, which helps in their recovery.
As a soon-to-be parent, it’s good to be updated with your partner’s prenatal care. Check for childbirth classes or other programs to prepare you both. Some rehab centers offer parenting classes that help equip would-be parents with essential parenting skills and knowledge. You may want to ask about fitting these classes into your partner’s treatment schedule and if you can both participate.
In terms of emotional support, you also need to encourage your partner to continue making progress. To help lessen her stress and worry, continue to bring positivity whenever you visit by keeping the topics light. You can also ask her if she needs anything to would make her stay more comfortable and offer to bring her favorite blanket or a healthy snack.
Your partner’s recovery depends on the treatment she will receive, so you both need to choose the rehab center carefully. Make sure to select one that has an existing treatment plan for pregnant women with substance use disorder because your partner’s needs are different from that of a regular patient. Remember that getting the best treatment for your partner also helps to keep the child safe.