The Rising Issue of Pregnant Women With Addiction

The opioid epidemic has been a growing problem for many years now, having devastating effects on both addicts and those around them. Unfortunately, the problem is even more acute for pregnant women, many of whom struggle to find proper care and support during pregnancy.

Every 25 minutes, a baby is born in the United States with some form of drug withdrawal, primarily due to opioid dependence. As a result, more and more pregnant women are being hit with the reality that they are struggling with a drug addiction. In order to properly address this issue, health professionals must take the time to consider the specific risks and challenges when dealing with expectant mothers who suffer from addiction.

For starters, it is important to understand exactly why pregnant women struggle with addiction. Unfortunately, when facing an unplanned pregnancy, many women turn to drugs as a way to cope with the emotional and physical stressors associated with the pregnancy. Additionally, women who were addicted to drugs prior to getting pregnant are often vulnerable to relapse during this emotionally tumultuous time. Furthermore, two recent studies suggest that women who may have already have a history of addiction can find themselves increasingly addicted to certain drugs during pregnancy, due to the correlation between hormonal changes and drug cravings.

When addressing a pregnant woman dealing with an addiction, it is important to consider several factors. Firstly, health care professionals need to assess the woman’s level of addiction in order to create an appropriate treatment program. Treatment options range from inpatient rehab programs to outpatient counseling. While there are risks to both, care should be taken to match the more intensive programs with those who best need them.

It is also important to remember that many pregnant women face unique challenges when it comes to taking necessary steps for a drug-free lifestyle. For example, pregnant women often worry about the consequences of entering an inpatient facility, such as how their child will be taken care of, who will provide for the child, and the cost of their treatment.

Finally, health care professionals should take into account the psychological needs of pregnant women who are battling addiction. Many of these women face intense stigma in their communities, both from family and strangers. As a result, taking extra measures to ensure strict privacy can be beneficial for helping the woman feel safe and supported. Additionally, providing emotional counseling aimed at helping the woman find strength and hope can be invaluable to her recovery and wellbeing.

Addiction during pregnancy is an issue of growing concern, yet there are steps that can be taken to help these women get the care and emotional support they need. Despite the challenges they face, pregnant women who are struggling with addiction can and do recover. With this in mind, it is critical that health care professionals are prepared to provide an appropriate treatment plan and offer the spiritual and emotional comfort these women deserve.

Reasons why pregnant women need to avoid substance abuse

Every pregnant woman wants her baby to come out healthy and in great shape. This is possible when factors like substance abuse are not in the picture. Taking substances like drugs or alcohol frequently can be fatal to fetal development.

These substances can cause an effect on the child that will last through their lifetime. In some cases, the substance use might not affect the woman, but it will always affect the unborn child.

For instance, if a woman who takes crack cocaine, does so during her pregnancy, she is likely to birth a baby with unique mental and physical health problems.

Let’s take a look at some of the possible effects of substance abuse on pregnant women and their fetus

Abnormal functioning of the placenta

The placenta plays a pivotal role in the woman’s body. It supplies the unborn baby with oxygen and food that is crucial to their growth and development.

If a pregnant woman is hooked on drugs and alcohol, it might affect the normal functioning of the placenta. The flow of food and oxygen might be disrupted and it can lead to the fetus’ death in the long run.

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Low birthweight

Alcohol and drugs limit the flow of nutrients from the mother to the unborn child. Hence, the fetus will receive a lower volume of nutrients that might not be sufficient for its growth. This can make them underweight when they are born.

Birth defects

If a baby is born with defects, it most likely means that the process leading to their birth was unhealthy. Drugs and alcohol can affect a baby’s health, making them develop defects that affect how their hearts, brains, or bodies work.

Premature birth

Substance abuse can make the baby arrive earlier than expected which might not be good for them. Not all babies can survive premature birth

Pregnant women who abuse substances need to be given special attention by their healthcare providers. This is to help them deal with their abuse problem so that it does not affect their unborn child.

The connection between abortion and addiction

When women have an abortion unexpectedly, it can be one of the most painful things they will experience. This is not the physical pain associated with the abortion, it is the emotional experience that comes with it.

The pain that women experience when they have to lose a baby they were expecting can be unimaginable. This is why many of them find it hard to cope when it happens.

Some of them begin to rely on substances like drugs and alcohol so that they can cope with the pain.

One of the reasons why people rely on drugs or alcohol is because they want their minds to heal. This might look like it’s working in the short term.

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However, in the long run, the effects of these substances begin to wear out, and the woman will most likely need more substances. If care is not taken, they can become addicted in the process.

When a woman is addicted, it becomes unsafe for her to deliver a healthy child because of the influence of those substances. Addiction can negatively affect the womb, making it unsafe for the woman to raise a child.

Women who have an abortion need all the help they can get so that they don’t rely on substances instead. It is recommended that they see a mental health counselor or a therapist who will help them navigate such difficult periods.

Abortion, both induced and natural, can be traumatic. This means that the woman is likely to be haunted even after a long time.

On the other hand, women who want to intentionally have an abortion need to be sure they are doing it for the right reason and purpose.

This is why Abortion clinics and healthcare providers need to screen their patients for different factors like an addiction.

If a patient is addicted, the decision to go for an abortion might not have been made under the right frame of mind. Hence, they should be taught to realize that there are other options and should be motivated to get help for their addiction.

Preventing pregnancy the right way

Not everyone wants to be pregnant. For women who do not want to be, it is due to their unpreparedness at that period. For people who are sexually active and do not want a child yet, it is imperative that they are aware of the options that exist for birth control.

There are a good number of contraception available to keep pregnancy at bay. However, the best method to prevent pregnancy is to stay away from sex.  

Below are some preventative measures that helps to prevent pregnancy

  1. Know your contraceptive options: If you do not know your contraceptive options, it is important to go on birth control. There are a good number of options to select from, both hormonal and nonhormonal ones.

There are daily combination pills that you can take, alongside with daily minipills, skin patches, vaginal rings and intrauterine devices (IUDs)

  • Use your birth control precisely: Each day you are not on birth control, the chances of becoming pregnant increases. So, it is important to stick to the medication schedule and take the pill at the exact time frame every day.

By all means possible, do not miss doses and as soon as you remember, take the pill immediately.

  • Use barrier protection: In preventing pregnancy birth control is very effective. However, it does not prevent you from contracting sexually transmitted infections. So, it is essential to use barrier protection like condoms, because they provide a safe medium for hormonal birth control and STIs prevention.
  • Track your fertility and avoid sex when ovulating: When you are ovulating, it is possible for you to track your fertility and avoid sex. There are some applications you can use for this purpose. This method is very proficient if you know how your body works. It is a good complement to other preventative measures.

If you want something in the long term, you can decide to opt for long-term birth control options. Some of them can last for three-ten years. And if you want something permanent, then you can opt for sterilization. For men, the sperm would be prevented from releasing and for women, the fallopian tubes will be blocked, preventing the eggs from traveling to the uterus.


Abortion is the process of terminating a pregnancy. People sometimes mix up the concepts of abortions and miscarriages.

A miscarriage is always unintentional. In this case, a woman might lose her pregnancy because of strenuous activities or due to some complications that come with pregnancy, as a result of health issues.

For abortion, it is always intentional. It could be that the individual is not ready for a child at that period. So, what some of them resort to, is abortion.

There are various dangers associated with abortion and having a look at the following points will inform you more:  

  1. Health problems: A woman who commits abortion is at a high risk. The reason for this is, anything could go wrong. In the phase of abortion, any of the organs could become dysfunctional and in the process, affect the others.

One of the worse unimaginable scenarios possible, is for the woman to lose her womb which means she cannot go through the process of conception and child-birth again.

  • Flouting the laws: In most countries, abortion is a crime. And if a woman is found to commit abortion, disciplinary measures might be spelt out to her. It is wrong to deny an unborn child the right to live, because they are not wanted at that time. It is best to avoid getting pregnant if the means are possible.
  • Damaged relationships: People do not entirely buy the idea of aborting a child. So, if they learn what you did, their first line of action is to give you distance. Someone who aborts a child would most likely lose friends and acquaintances. There is a stigma that comes with addiction that no one wants to be associated with.
  • Death: In some unfortunate cases, the woman might lose her life in the process. As mentioned above, there are tendencies for complications to take place when the abortion is in motion. In other cases, the woman might lose her life after a period of time.


Conventionally, to abort means to put to end, the process of a pregnancy, by removing the embryo or foetus. This is usually done before the foetus has the capacity to survive outside the uterus. When abortion happens without any external action, it is referred to as a miscarriage, and when it is done intentionally, it is referred to as induced abortion.

Now, there are various reasons why ladies have abortion, and most times, they are usually specific to them. However, the reasons listed here are quite common among ladies.

For those who are schooling, having a child would mean that their education has been affected. Hence, they would have an abortion in order to prevent that.

When it comes to those who are yet to commence schooling, when they discover that they are pregnant, what it means it, they would be unable to go to school, because they would need to take care of their child. Hence, they would make all efforts to remove it.

There are some married ladies who are of the opinion that having a child at the early stage of their marriage would affect their job. Hence, if they get pregnant mistakenly, they would make all efforts to ensure that the foetus leaves, so that they can focus fully on their job.

Even for some of those who have children, they can have an abortion because they believe that they would not be able to cater for the additional child. Hence, whenever they discover that they are pregnant, they ensure that it is removed instantly.

There are some cases when ladies get raped, and due to the shame, they take to having an abortion. This usually occurs when they do not know who the father is, or most times if the father is someone close, like a relative.

There are other ladies who are promiscuous, and they cannot afford to get pregnant because it would affect them, and prevent them from making money. Hence, once they discover that they are pregnant, they ensure that they remove the pregnancy immediately.

It is advised that ladies reduce the rate at which they have an abortion, as it has an adverse effect on their womb in the long run.


Basically, abortion can be defined as the process whereby a pregnancy is terminated by removing the foetus, before it gains the capacity to survive in the exteriors of the uterus. Abortion which occurs in the absence of intervention, is known as a miscarriage. Also, when there are intentional steps taken to end a pregnancy, it is known as induced abortion, it is also called induced miscarriage sometimes.

Below are reasons why you should not think of having an abortion:

  • It adds to tragedy: It is understandable that most times, the circumstances which surrounds a pregnancy are unpalatable. Hence, the woman in question would want to remove the baby due to the fact that the thought of it induces shame and pain. It should be known that it is not a good idea to end the life of an unborn baby simply because you want to end pain.

Visiting a counsellor is better in this case.

  • It is against civil rights: In many countries, having an abortion is a violation of civil rights, and it is punishable depending on the rules of the country. Children who are yet to be born, should not be denied their right to live their own life irrespective of the instances surrounding their birth.
  • It can cause harm to women: Women who undergo abortion, are putting their lives at risk. This is because there are health demerits which are attached to this. Asides the fact that they could be affected health-wise, they could also face mental, relational and emotional problems. Sometimes, women die on the spot after having an abortion.
  • It damages relationships: Committing an abortion makes people to think less of you. With time, you would discover that you would lose many friends, as they would want to keep their distance from you. When it gets to this stage, you would realise that you have lost both your relationships, and a life- The unborn child.
  • It does not go away: After having an abortion, the thought and the experience never goes away. It is something which would remain with you for the rest of your life. It is a stigma which sticks and does not live.

Why Abortion is Unnatural

unnatural abortionThere are some people who would argue that abortion is a solution to a problem, but there would seem to be more evidence against this than for it. In fact, the more abortion is studied, the more it is agreed upon that abortion causes mental and physical damage far more than it helps or repairs anything. People commit to abortions thinking that they are harmlessly evading a natural consequence of their actions when they are actually making themselves worse off. Below are several reasons that abortion is largely considered unnatural and harmful:

  • It goes against nature’s plans. Pregnancy and child bearing is a natural and essential component of the life of any organism. There is a reason one hears pregnant women often say they feel radiant, glowing and in tune with nature. This is because nature intended for women to become pregnant. Therefore, when a woman becomes pregnant but then aborts her pregnancy, an unnatural event has taken place in her personal life and in the life of her physical being, and it has disrupted the spiritual and biological intentions of motherhood.
  • It creates an unwanted shock to the body. Aborting a pregnancy literally puts a woman’s body into a type of shock. A woman’s body has a lot to do in order to prepare for a pregnancy. As soon as a woman become pregnant, her body and brain chemistry begin to change in order to prepare for the next nine months of pregnancy. Cancelling this process at any point presents intense confusion the chemical changes that were taking place, throwing the woman into a flood of hormones that she cannot use and a crash of bodily processes that make her unwell.
  • It often goes against the natural desire to be pregnant. All too often, a woman commits to an abortion despite an inner voice telling her to go through with it. This causes the worst kind of damage, because once an abortion is performed, the woman becomes haunted by regrets and thoughts of “what if.” A woman who is inclined to feel that she should keep a pregnancy should never terminate it.

Not a Matter of Conservative vs. Liberal

abortion without politicsThe abortion debate is always constructed around the notion that the issue is polarized between conservative and liberal, republican and democrat, right and left. Each side has a traditional stance on the matter and when anyone is opinionated on abortion, they are pegged as representing the right or the left. The truth of this matter is that it is not black and white the way it is often represented. Republicans can be pro-choice and democrats can be pro-life. Abortion is a complex matter.

The traditional conservative view of abortion is that it is murder. Republicans are known to disparage the legality of abortion and work to undo its passage into law. Their argument cites all the ways an unborn fetus is similar enough to a human to qualify as one, including behavior such as dreaming, observing, thumb sucking and clapping. They cite how a fetus’ nervous system is developed enough that it can feel pain. And they cite the fetus’ behavior that resembles terror during the act of abortion.

The liberal view of abortion is that it is a woman’s right to choose whether or not she keeps a fetus or terminates it. This view was adopted in response to the tradition of patriarchy that has dictated control over women’s bodies through most of history. This tradition has commonly demanded that a woman comply with her “duty” of bearing children, which came to be enormously resented during the rise of feminism.

What many people do not realize is that, all politics aside, abortion is not a black and white issue that falls neatly on one side of a debate or another. There are many republicans who passionately stand for abortion, as well as many liberals who are against it. The freedom to abort a fetus represents a right to protect the interests of the self, where as the protection of an unborn fetus protects the fetus’ human right to life. It is not traditionally liberal or conservative to protect the interests of the self or of another. It is both and neither in equal measure.

The Effects of Abortion on Mental Health

abortion mental healthIt has long been known that abortion causes mental strain to women. Abortion is a very challenging, morally loaded decision to make and is known to cause significant mental hardships to women. This has always been a fact that anti-abortion groups cite in their campaigns. Pro-abortion groups retaliate by saying that the mental health argument is subjective and there is no real evidence of mental health problems caused by abortion. Modern studies show that abortion is connected to certain mental health concerns in women.

Abortion negatively impacts a woman’s mental health for a number of reasons. Having an abortion feels unnatural to women because it is. It is far more natural to a woman’s hormone production and bodily processes to allow nature to run its course. A woman’s body does a lot to prepare for pregnancy, and when the process is aborted, her body is confused and is susceptible to malfunction. Not only does her bod physically crash due to the aborted pregnancy, her mind is flooded with hormones and unintended brain chemicals that make her feel not like herself.

Abortion is often connected to shattered dreams of intimacy for women. Many women have abortions because they are pressured into them by the man who fathered the child. Or, the pressure on them could be perceived by them and they make their decision to abort based on imagined pressure. The point is, many women get abortions ignoring the feeling that they would rather not have one. This kind of decision making is always the grounds for mental unhealthiness because she does not feel free or able to choose based on what she wants.

The other obvious dilemma for a woman when it comes to abortion is wondering whether or not it was or is the right thing to do based on personal morals. Abortion was not something women considered until very recently, relatively speaking. There is a great deal of support for a woman’s right to choose, and there is a great deal of opposition to abortion. Knowing what to choose can be incredibly difficult, and creates mental strain for women.