Menu Close

Dangers of Heroin Use While Pregnant

a pregnant person puts her hand on her head and contemplates heroin use while pregnant

You or someone you know may be among the roughly one million Americans in urgent need of heroin addiction treatment. This figure includes a significant number of pregnant women. Unfortunately, the use of heroin during pregnancy comes with an extensive list of dangers. Some of these dangers apply to expectant mothers, while others apply to their developing children. With help from addiction specialists, recovery from heroin problems is an achievable goal. That’s just as true for pregnant women as it is for other affected groups.

The General Risks of Drug Use During Pregnancy

Any form of illicit drug use during pregnancy can be dangerous for both women and their babies. That’s true for street drugs, as well as for misused prescription medications. What explains this shared danger? When you take a drug during pregnancy, it travels through your bloodstream to the placenta. From there, it travels into the bloodstream of your developing fetus. This transfer sets the stage for a range of serious health concerns.

Heroin Use While Pregnant and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

One of the chief dangers of heroin use while pregnant is neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Newborns affected by this syndrome become addicted to heroin while still in the womb. As a result, they may experience a range of potential symptoms, including:

  • Elevated body temperature
  • Unusual irritability
  • Frequent or constant crying
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle tremors
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty gaining weight

In a worst-case scenario, a newborn with NAS can even die.

Other Risks of Using Heroin During Pregnancy

There are also multiple additional dangers of being a pregnant person with heroin problems. One potential issue is placental abruption. This term describes the premature separation of the placenta from the wall of your uterus. An abruption can trigger extreme blood loss. It also has the potential to kill you or your unborn child. Other possible results of using heroin while pregnant include the following:

  • Giving birth prematurely
  • Having a newborn with a dangerously low birthweight
  • Stillbirth
  • Serious congenital disabilities

Your newborn may also have increased sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) risks. Children affected by this syndrome die from unclear causes before reaching their first birthday.

Halting Heroin Use During a Pregnancy

By halting your heroin use, you can decrease the risks for you and your unborn child. However, this is only true if you go through formal heroin treatment. Why? If you try to stop using the drug all at once, you can put your child in additional danger. Supervised heroin treatment significantly reduces this danger.

Research shows that the most effective tool for helping a pregnant person using drugs affected by NAS is the opioid medication buprenorphine. This medication acts as a temporary substitute for the heroin in your system. As you go through withdrawal, you will gradually need less and less buprenorphine. The same holds true for your child.

A second medication called naloxone is often added to buprenorphine. The presence of naloxone limits the time in which buprenorphine is effective. In this way, it provides a layer of security against buprenorphine misuse.

Find Out More About the Risks of Heroin Use While Pregnant at Northpoint Colorado

Have more questions about the dangers of heroin for pregnant women? The experts at Northpoint Colorado are standing by to assist you. We can help clarify the risks for both you and your developing or newborn child. We can also fill in the details of effective treatment plans for affected women.

Northpoint Colorado specializes in heroin addiction treatment. With our help, you can get this powerful street drug out of your system. You can also develop the skills and knowledge needed to stay heroin-free. To get started, call us today at 888.231.1281 or complete our online form.