M.O.T.H.E.R. – Maternal Opiate Treatment and Healthy Educational Resources

Northland is equipped to assist individuals who find themselves in all different types of circumstances, including pregnant women who are addicted to drugs or alcohol. The M.O.T.H.E.R. program at Northland was designed specifically for pregnant women who need help for a substance use disorder. The program combines effective substance abuse treatment with comprehensive education, counseling, and access to resources. We address the issue of pregnancy and addiction by providing therapy, personalized care, and other resources for mothers-to-be as they take control of their health and the well-being of their baby.

According to the most recent data available from SAMHSA, 5.4 percent of pregnant women aged 15 to 44 were reported to be current illicit drug users, and 9.4 percent reported current alcohol use. According to the Merck Manual, women who drink alcohol while they are pregnant are nearly 50 percent more likely to have a miscarriage and substantially more likely to give birth to a baby with low birth weight than other women.


Risks of Substance Use during Pregnancy

The dangers of substance abuse are significant for any user, but they become even more serious and life-threatening for pregnant women and their unborn babies. Nearly everything an expecting mother puts into her body travels through the placenta to the fetus and affects the baby’s nourishment and development. Harmful substances like drugs and alcohol have severe consequences on the developing child. Some of the effects of maternal substance abuse impact the mother and unborn baby during gestation. Other side effects, such as birth defects and learning disabilities, impact the child for the rest of his or her life.

Risks of substance use during pregnancy include:

  • Low birth weight, resulting in higher risk for illness and intellectual disability
  • Premature birth, resulting in learning development problems
  • Birth defects
  • Death through miscarriage, stillbirth or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • Drug dependency in the newborn – called neonatal abstinence syndrome

Newborn drug exposure is a serious medical condition that is associated with respiratory complications, low birth rates, feeding difficulties, and seizures. It is estimated that one infant is born exposed to in-utero narcotic abuse every hour in the United States. Opiates are the most common drug of exposure, and opiate use during pregnancy is the number one cause of prenatal deaths in the United States.

The best thing for expectant mothers to do is to get help for their substance use as soon as possible. Because there are greater risks associated with a pregnant woman going through withdrawal and rehab, it is important for her to enroll in a course specifically designed for pregnant women and operated by experienced staff. The sooner a mother-to-be can get into a treatment program and start working on sobriety, the better the outcome will be for her child.


Addiction Help for Expectant Women

The M.O.T.H.E.R. program at Northland is held once a week for ten weeks. This course offers expectant moms enrolled in Northland’s substance abuse treatment program an additional option for education and support. The curriculum is based upon Stephanie Covington’s A Woman’s Journal Helping Women Recover – A Program for Treating Addiction, and participants are encouraged to adopt the Journal’s Sixteen Steps for Discovery & Empowerment.

The program’s focus is on abstinence-based recovery with participants developing crucial maternal skills to achieve positive birth outcomes and lasting life changes for both mother and baby. The M.O.T.H.E.R. program guides expectant mothers through pregnancy and provides them with resources and tools for motherhood, all while helping them through addiction recovery.


Program Goals

In addition to improved birth outcomes and long-term recovery, the objectives of the M.O.T.H.E.R. program include:

  • One of our main objectives is referrals to prenatal care and case management
  • Education on Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS)
  • Expectations for pre-and post-delivery
  • Reduced complications due to opiate use and exposure
  • Empowerment, self-esteem, and responsibility
  • Parenting and child development resources
  • Relapse prevention
  • Access to additional resources

Recovery during pregnancy requires additional consideration. It is important that expectant mothers be monitored closely throughout the pregnancy as they work toward sobriety. Opioid Dependent clients are offered Subutex to help with cravings during their pregnancy. However, MOTHER’s group is open to all clients who are looking for extra support during pregnancy. In addition, they participate in group and individual therapy sessions, in order to help them get to the heart of their substance use and develop the skills needed to remain sober during and after pregnancy. A major part of our M.O.T.H.E.R. program is connecting women with a support system that will help them through pregnancy and addiction recovery, and to attain sustained sobriety.

The M.O.T.H.E.R. program combines effective substance abuse treatment with comprehensive education, counseling, and access to resources. Call now to schedule an appointment.