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Pregnant and Using Opioids? There’s help.

If you are pregnant and struggling with opioid use, you can take important steps now to do what’s best for yourself and your baby. Opioid use disorder—or OUD—is an illness. And like other illnesses, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, it is treatable.1 If you have OUD, talk with your prenatal care provider, tribal behavioral health provider, or other health care professional about a treatment option that is right for you. Your provider may use medication to stop and prevent withdrawal and reduce opioid cravings, allowing you to focus on your recovery and caring for your baby.1 Treatment works and you don’t have to do it alone. Along with medication, your treatment program should include counseling and spiritual and cultural support to help you cope with the challenges of recovery, pregnancy, and new parenthood. The desire to stop opioid use during pregnancy is a significant step toward a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby. You may be tempted to quit taking opioids cold turkey, but experts warn against it. Suddenly stopping the use of opioids can lead to withdrawal for you and your baby, and you may be more likely to start using drugs again and even experience overdoses.1 Opioid misuse during pregnancy can lead to serious health problems for a baby, such as premature birth, birth defects, and a group of drug withdrawal conditions for your baby called neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).2 While medication-assisted treatment (MAT) often results in healthier moms, pregnancies, and babies, some newborns whose mothers are undergoing MAT may still experience NAS. Swaddling and breastfeeding, which is safe even while taking medication to treat OUD, can help reduce NAS symptoms in babies. By asking for help today, you can begin your journey to wellness, protect the future of your baby, and become the strong parent you hope to be for your child, family, and tribal community. Ask your health care provider, or speak with the Hope One Outreach Team @ 609-909-7200 or visit or , for more information about we can help.

Atlantic County Sheriff Eric Scheffler

Sources: 1Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; 2March of Dimes

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