You’ve been struggling with drug or alcohol use for some time now, then out of the blue, you find out you’re pregnant. You know that continuing to abuse these substances can put your unborn child’s life in harm’s way, but stopping is a lot more difficult than you imagined. You have no idea where to go or what to do but you know something needs to change.
The problem is, addiction is a disease that eventually takes over your mind. It alters your mind to the point that your body tricks you into believing you need one more sip or one more puff to function. You try to quit, but the chemicals have been in your body for so long that the withdrawal symptoms are unbearable.
You don’t want to harm your baby. You also don’t want to end up losing custody the day your child is born. But what do you do to turn things around? Below is some advice to help you through this very trying time.
6 Best Tips for Expectant Mothers Struggling with Addiction
Let Your Doctor Know
Even if you’re not ready to tell your loved ones about your addiction just yet, it is important to tell your doctor. Not only can they provide you with resources to help you quit safely, but they can customize their care throughout your pregnancy to ensure that you and the baby remain as healthy as possible.
Detox with a Professional
Quitting cold turkey is often challenging. Depending on the types of substances you were abusing and how long you’ve been using them for, your body can have an adverse effect on you not using at all. You could break out in a sweat, have a high fever, experience pain, vomiting, and so much more. You need to work with medical experts who can safely wean you off the substances while causing the least amount of side effects to you and your baby. You can get help from Windward Way or another rehab facility near you.
Get Support from Relatives
Even after you’ve detoxed from the drugs or alcohol you’ll need a strong support system around you to maintain your sobriety and get through your pregnancy. If you can, reach out to family members who can help during this time. Talk to them about what you’ve been going through and how you need their support going forward. Go to counseling, if necessary, to work out issues and get the tools you need to progress forward positively.
Remove Triggers or Stressors
In order to remain sober throughout your pregnancy, you’ll need to remove the triggers and stressors that provoke you to abuse substances. Whether this is toxic friendships, an unhealthy marriage, a stressful job, or a crime-ridden neighborhood, you have to remove yourself from as much of the negativity as you can to reduce the likelihood of relapsing.
Change Your Diet
The addiction over the years has taken a toll on your body and, depending on how long into your pregnancy you were using, it has also impacted your baby’s health. To try and turn things around for a successful pregnancy it is important to start changing your diet. Introduce healthier foods into your meals including fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables, healthy fats, and of course, plenty of water for hydration.
Find Positive Outlets
Beating addiction, after detoxing and becoming sober is all about your mindset. You’ve got to find ways to remain positive throughout your pregnancy (and life in general) to avoid slipping down that slippery slope again. Find things you really enjoy doing to keep your mind focused on. Start planning for the arrival of your baby by shopping or building a nursery. Hang out with friends and family for moral support. Pick up a new hobby or an old one you used to love.
Finding out that you’re pregnant when you’re already struggling with addiction can be a life-altering time in your life. The good news, however, is that the health and safety of your child could be just the inspiration you need to stop a bad habit. The only way to ensure that you and your baby are safe is to quit. As doing it alone can be complex, work with a rehab facility, your doctor, therapists, and positive friends and family members to get your life back on track.