Is Methadone Treatment for Opiate Addiction Safe for Pregnant Women?

800-584-3274 Need Help Overcoming Opiate Addiction? We Can Help!

Struggling with opiate addiction during a pregnancy places an incredible amount of stress on a woman, both physically and emotionally. The overwhelming pull of opiates can take priority over the most critical life situations, even pregnancy.

Attempts to stop abusing opiates on one’s own seldom last very long and can actually cause more harm than good. Under these conditions, the need for some form of treatment help is imperative.

Methadone treatment for opiate addiction offers a safe and effective means for overcoming addiction’s effects during pregnancy. Not only can a woman make great steps towards building a drug-free lifestyle, but methadone’s effects greatly increase the likelihood of having a healthy, full-term pregnancy.

For information on available methadone treatment programs, call our toll-free helpline at 800-584-3274.

Methadone Treatment for Opiate Addiction

Opiates work by stimulating the production of endorphin chemicals in the brain, which accounts for their pain-relieving effects as well as the feelings of euphoria and calm that an opiate “high” produces. As endorphin chemicals tend to have calming effects, an increase in endorphin levels essentially slows down chemical activities throughout the brain and body. Over time, this slowing effect creates the types of lasting brain chemical imbalances that open the door for addiction to develop.

Methadone Treatment for Opiate Addiction

Methadone treatment reduces a mother’s risk of miscarriage.

According to the Western Journal of Medicine, methadone treatment for opiate addiction works by mimicking the effects of addictive opiates without producing a high risk for abuse. In the process, methadone supports normal endorphin production rates and restores a normal chemical balance in the brain.

Methadone Treatment Effects during Pregnancy

Physical Health

The effects of opiate abuse hamper the brain’s functional capacity, which inevitably affects the body’s overall state of health. This means, during the course of using drugs, both the mother’s and the baby’s health suffers.

According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, methadone treatment has remained a federally-approved standard of care for treating opiate addiction during pregnancy since 1998. Methadone’s ability to restore a normal chemical balance improves a woman’s health status and greatly increases the chances of delivering a healthy baby.

Relief from Withdrawal Effects

Much of the danger associated with opiate abuse and pregnancy stems from the repeated episodes of withdrawal that addiction breeds. Withdrawal effects, such as nausea, sweating and agitation reflect the degree to which the body’s systems have broken down from the damaging effects of opiates.

In effect, when the mother goes through withdrawal, the fetus goes through withdrawal. These conditions place a developing fetus at high risk of miscarriage and even stillbirth. These risks increase the longer a women keeps abusing opiates.

Methadone’s ability to meet the brain’s need for opiate effects eliminates uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and also drug cravings effects. As withdrawal and drug cravings effects account for why it’s so difficult to maintain abstinence from drug use, methadone treatment for opiate addiction gives a person a fighting chance at breaking addiction’s hold on her life.

Opiate Addiction Treatment Options during Pregnancy: Methadone vs. Buprenorphine

Lifestyle Effects

Opiate addiction breeds its own lifestyle, driving a person to take on habits and behaviors that support compulsive drug-using behavior. In addition to methadone’s therapeutic effects, methadone treatment programs employ a range of behavior-based interventions that equip a person with the coping skills needed to live a drug-free lifestyle.

Interventions commonly used include:

Overall, methadone treatment for opiate addiction offers a woman the best chance at a healthy pregnancy while equipping her with the skills for living a drug-free life.

If you’re considering methadone treatment and have more questions, call our toll-free helpline at 800-584-3274 to find out about available treatment options.


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