Kari Ann Rinker, an individual who works in nonprofit management and provides women’s health, economic and social justice analysis and commentary online, told her story to NPR.org. Here is an excerpt of her story:
I bought my first and only pregnancy test when I was 26.
At the time, I had been doing a lot of meth. I was fortunate if I remembered to eat one meal a day. Refilling my birth-control prescription had become just another missed detail in a life that had ceased to have much meaning for me.
I was an addict, and I was staring at two very bright pink lines on a stick.
I showed the test to my boyfriend. “What are we going to do?” I asked. He replied, “Have a baby, I guess.”
Many women who have an addiction become pregnant unexpectedly – some may already be in rehabilitation or others may not have decided they need help yet. No matter the circumstance, pregnancy addiction is incredibly harmful for both the mother and baby; the American Pregnancy Association has noted that the consumption of illegal drugs during pregnancy can result in miscarriage, low birth weight, premature labor, placental abruption, sudden infant death syndrome and maternal death. Further damages include increased risk of stillbirth, preterm birth, respiratory problems, slow fetal growth, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, cognitive and behavioral problems, seizures, and feeding difficulties. There are so many potential risks when addiction is combined with pregnancy.
Pregnant women with an addiction have unique needs to ensure the safety of themselves and their child. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) notes that for opioid dependence in pregnant women, methadone maintenance in addition to prenatal care and a comprehensive drug treatment program are the best ways to combat the detrimental effects of addiction. Many babies born will have withdrawal symptoms, but buprenorphine has been shown to produce fewer withdrawal symptoms. Researchers from Pennsylvania exclaimed that routine screening and education of women in child-bearing age are some of the best tools to prevent addiction during pregnancy.
If you have an addiction and you are pregnant, know that it’s not too late. You can still seek treatment. You can still seek help. There are many tools and resources to help you get through this and protect your child. Don’t give up. Call us today at 888-316-3665. New Vista Behavioral Health is home to several excellent treatment centers. We can speak with you regarding your needs and work with you from there. You and your child deserve this. It’s time to change your life. Call us for a consultation today.