Using drugs during pregnancy is one of the greatest stigmas recovering women can face. Today, there are plenty of resources for pregnant women who want to begin their recovery journey. Modern medicine even allows for a safe detox for both mother and baby. But what about maintaining sobriety during and after pregnancy? The excitement and stress of new motherhood, combined with the emotional ups and downs of recovery, may seem overwhelming. Fortunately, there are several tried and true methods for staying sober for new and expecting mothers.
Maintaining emotional, mental, and physical health is essential for any recovering person. Hormones, financial concerns, fatigue, and relationship stress are common concerns for expectant mothers that can take a toll on anyone, especially a woman who needs to maintain a daily program of recovery. Here are a few tips for the recovering mother-to-be:
Tips for Staying Away from Drugs During Pregnancy
- Discuss medicines with your doctor. Psych meds are a vital part of recovery for many people, but it’s dangerous to take certain drugs during pregnancy. Discuss alternatives to these drugs with your doctor to be sure that you are still safely treating any underlying conditions you may have.
- Maintain a structured meeting schedule during pregnancy, allowing for adjustment if necessary. Much like the structured design of many sober living programs, the benefit of attending regular meetings while pregnant is that it will be second nature once the baby is born. This prevents you from slipping on attendance in the midst of the joyful chaos of being a new parent.
- Form and maintain strong sober supports with other women and mothers. Sober supports are essential because they encourage you to stay on the path toward recovery. Having sober supports who understand the unique experience of motherhood can help support you through that journey.
- Be open to working on your relationships. Sometimes, encouraging a family member or romantic partner to attend Al-Anon or other support groups can help relieve some of the stress caused by a major life event, such as the birth of a new child. Family counseling can also be useful.
- Stay healthy, but be gentle towards yourself. It’s all about balance- your doctor can help you to formulate a diet and exercise plan that’s healthy for you and the baby. If you struggle with an eating disorder, reaching out to your therapists, supports, and 12-step programs such as EDA will be essential for coping with changes in your body during this time.
- Remember why you got sober. You wanted a better life, and you have done the work to achieve it. Using drugs during pregnancy robs you of all that work. Today, you have the opportunity to make a life that’s better for you, and for the life, you are creating.