Substance Abuse During Pregnancy: Help for Pregnant Women

April 4, 2023

Pregnancy can be a wonderful time in a woman’s life. This is typically a time when she becomes more focused on her own health to support the health of her unborn baby. She may start to become more conscious of what she is putting into her body and how that may affect the child she’s carrying.

However, if the mother is addicted to drugs or alcohol, she may not have the same focus and possibly feel hopeless.  Help is available for pregnant women who struggle with substance abuse. Over the years, more and more rehabilitation programs have begun to incorporate services for pregnant women.

We are currently in the final part of a five-part series on Substance Abuse During Pregnancy, and in this post, we will be covering the topic: Help for Pregnant Women.  If you missed the first four parts, click here to visit our blog page.

Comprehensive addiction treatment for pregnant women may include the following:

  • Medical detox, if needed
  • A specialized treatment plan designed by professionals from various specialties
  • Pregnancy education and counseling (You can find this at Options Health!)
  • Parenting training (You can find this at Options Health!)
  • Individual, group, and family therapy
  • Assessment and therapy for co-occurring disorders
  • 12-step programming
  • Prenatal care
  • Life skills workshops
  • Aftercare planning


Therapeutic approaches that have been shown to be effective in treating pregnant women with substance use disorders include contingency management, motivational interviewing, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

  • Contingency Management:  Uses rewards, such as vouchers, to reinforce positive behaviors such as abstaining from drug use.
  • Motivational Interviewing:  Helps pregnant women work through any hesitations they have about beginning rehab and adjusting their behaviors.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:  Helps women gain insight into the situations that lead them to use substances; break old patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving; and replace those habits with new ones.


For pregnant women seeking help, there is often a fear of judgment.  Many fear they will be arrested, forced to have an abortion, asked to leave a prenatal care program, and reported to child protective services.

These are all legitimate concerns that can be addressed with an intake specialist at a treatment center. If the rehab center is equipped to work with pregnant women, staff members should understand these concerns and be able to alleviate anxiety about taking the next step toward a healthier lifestyle.

In evaluating options, it’s important to consider what would happen if one does not get help.  The risks to an unborn baby are high, not to mention the consequences to the mother if substance abuse continues.  Addiction only grows without intervention, as do the harsh realities accompanying addiction.

A newborn baby’s life is a time for celebration, just as much as each day of sobriety.  Pregnant women can enjoy this fresh journey in life with newfound sobriety and continued recovery.  Comprehensive care, along with a nurturing and supportive environment, offers the baby and mother the best chances for a full recovery.  At Options Health, we would be happy to come alongside you and connect you with the best treatment and rehabilitation centers in our area.

For overall parenting help, we have a wonderful program to help women as they navigate motherhood.  Earn While You Learn (EWYL) is a free program that provides education, emotional support, and material resources to expectant mothers through the toddler years of their baby’s life.  Once enrolled in EWYL, you will be connected with a mentor to guide you through an amazing curriculum of parenting classes where you earn credits to be spent in our Care Closet; where you can get diapers, wipes, baby clothes, baby furniture, and more!

Are you a father?  If so, we have an awesome program for you too!  FIT (Fathers In Training) is a free program that will challenge you to be the best father you can be by walking alongside you through our skill-building fatherhood classes and mentorship.

If you are interested in either of these free programs, please contact us today!

Options Health is a safe place where you can confidentially come and discuss sexual health, pregnancy, and relationship issues with one of our patient advocates.  Feel free to contact us today to take advantage of our free services, including pregnancy testing, ultrasound, pregnancy options consultation, STD testing, and abortion aftercareCall us or text us to schedule an appointment. We are here for you and ready to listen!