Costa Mesa, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/09/2015 -- Though the dangers of combining pregnancy with chemical dependency are well known, the all-too-common nature of the problems this deadly combination causes has spurred the womens-only rehab facility New Directions for Women to take a unique female- and family-oriented approach.
According to the non-profit facility, their 33 year history as a womens-only treatment program "drives us to be especially concerned" when it comes to addictions and pregnancy. They believe rehab for pregnant women isn't simply about getting one's own life in shape, it's "also about saving another life."
The medical community knows very well that when pregnant women consume alcohol, the booze travels through the placenta and straight into the baby's bloodstream. This effect may be devastating - especially in the pregnancy's first three months, which is the point at which alcohol affects both the body and brain's natural development. In fact, not only are the short-term consequences severe, but there are also long-term consequences: babies born with fetal alcohol issues often grow up to become addicted to alcohol themselves.
What does alcohol consumption during pregnancy affect? The list is long, but the most severe consequences involve: the child's development in the womb, the health of the child, the health of the mother, the ability of the child to learn, and the child's vulnerability to illnesses later on in life.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is widely known to set off Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. This raises the chances of experiencing miscarriage and may trigger malformations in the child's organs (including the heart) while they develop.
Damage which is produced during pregnancy is medically irreversible. In fact, patients who drink even before pregnancy may be harming the development of their later child. It's considered best to go sober well beforehand.
Women who are considering pregnancy should strongly consider ending all their alcohol consumption before pregnancy. The same goes for men, incidentally - heavy-drinking men are known for having lower sperm counts, and so child planning is a good chance for both husbands and wives to support each other as they "go dry."
What About Pregnancy and Drugs?
The American Medical Association states that the rate of newborns born suffering from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome rose over 300% in the decade from 2000 until 2010. Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, or NAS, is a condition where the child is born already addicted to the drugs which the mother used during pregnancy. These in turn were passed to the fetus as it developed during the womb.
As with alcohol, drugs damage the baby's development. They may also cause complications during pregnancy. Depending on the substance, babies may be anaemic, nutritionally deficient, or have retarded fetal growth. Mothers who use marijuana during a pregnancy, for example, may have children with impaired decision making ability, attention deficit disorder, and memory -- and these symptoms may be invisible until the child reaches age 3.
About New Directions for Women
New Directions for Women provides extensive support to both women and their children during our programs.
We are committed to healing the entire family (born and unborn) which is affected by chemical dependency as a disease. We have the experience and medical facilities to diagnose and care for the various issues caused by fetal exposure to drugs and alcohol, and we screen for the most common issues they trigger.
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