Addressing Alcohol Use in Pregnancy : AJN The American Journal of Nursing

Alcohol use in the first three months of pregnancy can cause the baby to have abnormal facial features. Growth and central nervous system problems (e.g., low birthweight, behavioral problems) can occur from alcohol use anytime during pregnancy. The baby’s brain is developing throughout pregnancy and can be affected by sober houses in boston exposure to alcohol at any time. ASSIST the patient who is interested in quitting by providing pregnancy-specific, self-help tobacco and nicotine cessation materials. Support the importance of having tobacco and nicotine-free space at home and seeking out a quitting buddy such as a former tobacco or nicotine user.

This locator helps people find drug and alcohol treatment programs in their area. And if you’re concerned that you are drinking too much and feel that you cannot stop — during your pregnancy or at any other time — talk with your doctor. Here’s what doctors say pregnant women should keep in mind when deciding whether to drink lightly or to steer clear of alcohol altogether. Heavy alcohol use can affect a baby even after a woman has given birth. For example, drinking and breastfeeding is a dangerous combination. Similar to how alcohol can move from a woman’s bloodstream into the umbilical cord and placenta, it can also pass through breast milk.

when helping a pregnant woman with a drinking addiction you should not:

Learn more about your options.Addiction Resources If you have more questions about addiction, we’ve gathered resources to help you and your loved ones. Anna has a passion for helping clients with substance use and co-occurring disorders achieve successful long-term recovery. Ask their health care provider or another trusted person about resources for help if they cannot stop drinking on their own. Talk with their health care provider about their plans for pregnancy, their alcohol use, and ways to prevent pregnancy if they are not planning to get pregnant. If you have a problem with alcohol or drugs, you should be given the name and phone number of a midwife or doctor who has special experience in the care of pregnant women with alcohol or drug problems. You should be put in touch with an alcohol or drug treatment programme.

A Guide to Pregnancy from Ob-Gyns

This case study includes an example of the CHARM Collaborative universal consent and CHARM memorandum of understanding. Health care professionals should be aware that patients may not intuitively equate alternative forms of nicotine use (ie, e-cigarettes and vaping products) with tobacco use. This webpage displays resources for healthcare professionals treating pregnant women with opioid use disorders. The variety of information offers helpful steps to ensure a treatment plan for a healthy pregnancy and baby. Unfortunately, many babies are born with health complications – some life-threatening – due to alcoholism. Some infants are required to stay in the hospital for weeks or months after their birth so medical staff can closely monitor their vitals.

When substance abuse threatens your baby’s health, you first priority will be finding a specialized drug or alcohol treatment program that includes medically supervised detox. This is called a continuum of care—meaning treatment and support services that range from high- to low-intensity. When it comes to women’s health, pregnant women struggling with drug or alcohol addiction are especially vulnerable. That’s because pregnancy amplifies the stigma of a substance use disorder, which discourages women from seeking treatment and support. If you are taking prescription medicines, carefully follow your health care provider’s instructions.

when helping a pregnant woman with a drinking addiction you should not:

A recent CDC study found that about one in eight pregnant women in the U.S. report drinking at least one alcoholic beverage in the past month. In many areas, prenatal doctor appointments also involve substance abuse screenings. During these screenings, medical staff will look for any warning signs of illicit drug and alcohol use – dilated pupils, scent of alcohol on breath or skin, and shakiness. If alcohol use is suspected, a referral for treatment is often provided.

Opioid mortality data/trends showed a substantial increase in pregnant women affected by opioid use during this time. The Ohio MOMS+ model provides a structure for engaging pregnant women in services and ensuring that information is shared across systems. This webpage provides an overview of the MOMS+ project, key resources used to implement the model, and details on project eco sober house ma development. Drug use can mean using illegal drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines (“meth”). It also can mean using prescription medication in a way your doctor did not order, such as taking pain medication for the “high” even when you no longer have pain. Your ob-gyn or other obstetric care provider may ask about your use of drugs throughout your pregnancy.

Avoiding these substances and getting regular prenatal care are important to having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Counseling and treatment are available if you have hard time quitting unhealthy substances on your own. Detox ideally should be followed by a structured residential treatment experience specifically geared to pregnant women. There is no known amount of alcohol that is safe for a woman to drink during pregnancy. If you drink alcohol when you are pregnant, your child could be born with lifelong fetal alcohol syndrome disorders . Children with FASD can have a mix of physical, behavioral, and learning problems.

When you drink, alcohol passes from your blood through the placenta to your baby. They also release chemicals in the brain that have a calming effect. Doctors may prescribe opioids for people who have had surgery, dental work, or an injury. Prescribed opioids include oxycodone, hydromorphone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, and codeine. All unique content created by the Addiction Group team is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert before publication. However, the information provided by Addiction Group is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.

Pregnancy and complex social factors: a model for service provision for pregnant women with complex social factors

Further, health care professionals should advise cessation of tobacco products used in any form and provide motivational feedback. Tobacco cessation, avoidance of secondhand smoke exposure, and relapse prevention are key clinical intervention strategies. Inquiry into tobacco use and smoke exposure should be a routine part of the prenatal visit. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that clinicians ask all pregnant women about tobacco use, advise tobacco cessation at all gestational ages, and provide behavioral interventions for those who smoke 42. The U.S. Public Health Service recommends that clinicians offer effective tobacco cessation interventions to pregnant women who smoke at the initial prenatal visit and throughout the course of pregnancy 43. Alcohol use during pregnancy can cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorders , which are physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities that last a lifetime.

when helping a pregnant woman with a drinking addiction you should not:

Many doctors agree with the stance of the CDC and Surgeon General and recommend that their pregnant patients avoid drinking. One might confide that they enjoyed the occasional beer during their pregnancy and feels their child turned out fine, while another sees this as taking an unnecessary risk. If you’re pregnant and struggling with a problematic drinking behavior, it’s not too late to get help. Reach out to a treatment provider for free today for immediate assistance. Avoiding prenatal care such as doctor appointments and taking nutrients.

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However, fentanyl has also been manufactured illicitly, and its distribution is on the rise. Opioid use disorder is a problematic pattern of opioid use that can result in health problems, disability, or failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school or home. Along with counseling and behavioral therapy, opioid medications may be used in medication assisted therapy to treat opioid use disorder. This document provides information on Virginia’s legal requirements and the implications for practice in promoting healthy maternal and infant outcomes. The Code of Virginia sets forth screening and reporting requirements for healthcare providers and hospitals to identify their scope of practice related to infants with prenatal substance exposure and their families. This webpage provides examples of the collaborative work among diverse partners, strategies implemented, and system outcomes for each participating state.

Some people believe moderate alcohol consumption is acceptable during the first trimester. Detox is never something you should attempt on your own, because of the medical complications that can arise—especially in pregnancy. The withdrawal timeline can also look different during pregnancy, so your best chances of a safe and complete detox will always be a medically supervised withdrawal. 100%Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are completely preventable. Although some of the lifelong effects of FASD can be recognized early, other issues become apparent later in life.

  • All types of alcohol can be harmful, including all wine and beer.
  • Doctor-approved information to keep you and your family healthy and happy.
  • Providing continual support and addressing psychosocial stressors in the postpartum period are necessary to ensure continued cessation success.
  • Encourage health insurance plans and provider organizations to support alcohol screening and counseling.
  • This webpage provides examples of the collaborative work among diverse partners, strategies implemented, and system outcomes for each participating state.
  • More than3 millionUS women are at risk of exposing their developing baby to alcohol.

Quit lines offer information, direct support, and ongoing counseling that help women quit smoking and remain smoke free 48. Most states offer pregnancy-specific services, focusing on the pregnant woman’s motivation to quit and providing postpartum follow-up to prevent relapse to smoking. When dialing the national quit line network (1-800-QUIT NOW) a caller is immediately routed to her state’s tobacco quit line. Many states offer facsimile referral access to their quit lines for prenatal health care professionals. Health care professionals can call the national quit line to learn about the services offered within their states. Examples of effective smoking cessation interventions delivered by a health care professional are listed in Box 2.


You and your ob-gyn or other obstetric care provider can discuss other treatments that will be safer for your fetus. Requiring most health insurance plans to cover FDA-approved methods of birth control and patient education and counseling as prescribed by a health care provider for women of reproductive age without cost to the patient. A developing baby is exposed to the same concentration as the mother during pregnancy. There is no known safe amount of alcohol consumption for women who are pregnant, including early in pregnancy when a woman may not know that she is pregnant. Alcohol can cause problems for the baby throughout pregnancy, including before a woman knows she is pregnant.

Learn about the Division of Reproductive Health’s efforts to address opioid use disorder to improve maternal and infant health. Opioids are a class of drugs used to manage pain, but also have serious risks, such as addiction. Prescription opioids may be prescribed by doctors to manage moderate to severe pain. Fentanylis a prescription opioid that can be used to treat severe pain.


While early diagnosis and treatment can improve the child’s health and behavior, there is no cure for FASD currently. Here are some questions you may have about alcohol and drinking while you are pregnant. Often need extra medical and behavioral care, assistance, and social support throughout life. Stopping alcohol use will improve the baby’s health and well-being.

This means they might be unaware that they are exposing their baby to alcohol. Treatment with either methadone or buprenorphine makes it more likely that the fetus will grow normally and not be born too early. Based on many years of research, neither medicine has been found to cause birth defects. FAS is most likely to occur in infants whose mothers drink heavily throughout pregnancy. But alcohol-related problems also can occur with lesser amounts of alcohol use.

Options for pregnant women include behavioral treatments and mutual-support groups. Your healthcare provider may be able to help you determine the best option for you. Pharmacotherapeutic smoking cessation agents used in the nonpregnant population include varenicline and bupropion. Varenicline is a partial agonist for nicotinic receptors in the brain.

Offer a direct referral to the national tobacco quit line (1-800-QUIT NOW) to provide ongoing counseling and support. If you are pregnant and you are doing any of these things, get help. Your health care provider can recommend programs to help you quit. For decades, researchers have known that heavy drinking during pregnancy can cause birth defects.

Regular pediatric visits will keep track of a child’s health to make sure their development and motor skills stay on track for their age group. 5 Risks When Drinking Alcohol In The Summer SunSummer is a wonderful time to go outside and enjoy outdoor activities. However, when these activities include alcohol, it can be a dangerous mix. How COVID-19 Has Impacted Alcohol AbuseAs the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the numbers of alcohol abuse have continued to rise, causing concern across America. Learn about substance use during pregnancy and CDC activities to address this important health topic. However, they should not worry unnecessarily, as the risks of their baby being affected are likely to be low.

Yvonne Kelly, PhD, senior lecturer in the department of epidemiology and public health, University College London. Ultimately, it’s up to each mom-to-be to consult with their doctor and decide if they’ll have the occasional small drink. Those who opt to give up alcohol may miss unwinding with a cocktail, but Archie thinks they won’t regret being cautious. All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional. Rationalizing how small amounts of alcohol will not affect pregnancy.