Pregnant and non-pregnant persons of childbearing age who misuse alcohol are an important population for education and early intervention. There is no known safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Alcohol consumption among pregnant persons is a public health concern. If you are using alcohol while pregnant and would like help cutting back or stopping, seek assistance. As a pregnant person, you will be given priority admission to an OASAS-certified program.
Alcohol use can cause birth defects, developmental disabilities, and other adverse pregnancy outcomes. Persons who are pregnant or trying to conceive should try to refrain from drinking any amount of alcohol at any time during pregnancy. If you are pregnant and have alcohol use disorder, trying to refrain from alcohol use is important for the health and safety of you and your developing fetus. However, it is not recommended that pregnant persons with alcohol use disorder stop drinking alcohol abruptly because alcohol withdrawal can affect the health of the pregnant person and the developing fetus. Seek assistance if you want to cut back or stop drinking alcohol.
The standard of care for pregnant persons with opioid use or opioid use disorder is medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) with either methadone or buprenorphine, with psychosocial treatment and supports as needed. Pregnant persons should be advised that MOUD is safe and promotes healthier outcomes for both the pregnant person and the newborn.
If you are pregnant, do not try to stop using opioids on your own. Opioid withdrawal, whether experienced on your own in attempting to stop opioid use or with medically supervised withdrawal (“detox”) likely leads to poor outcomes for the pregnant person and the developing fetus, including miscarriage, premature delivery, and risk of fatal overdose for the pregnant person and the developing fetus with return to opioid use.
Pregnant persons are at significant risk for return to use with opioids, especially if not on MOUD, and for overdose if using illicit substances. If a pregnant person overdoses, naloxone should be used to reverse the overdose as would be used on any non-pregnant person.
Maternal mortality, defined as death of the pregnant person during pregnancy or of the post-partum person up to one year after giving birth, is a significant issue in the United States. Unintentional overdose contributes significantly to maternal mortality rates. Both pregnant and post-partum persons should be educated regarding the risk of overdose, educated on overdose prevention and intervention, and advised to have naloxone on hand. Pregnant and post-partum persons with substance use and/or substance use disorder should be supported with wraparound, community-based services to help them navigate this potentially challenging time.