We know how it easy it is to fall prey to an addiction. And how that addiction can overpower you, even interfering with parenting and raising a family. New moms who may have put their cravings on hold during a pregnancy can quickly fall back into the trappings after a healthy baby is born. This, however, can be an extremely dangerous time to re-ignite a habit, particularly when issues like postpartum depression creep in.
New data from The Sarasota Herald Tribune is showing that women who use opioids are at much greater risk of an overdose during the first year of their baby’s life. This could relate to moms who restart their dependencies after nine months of pregnancy or those who become first time users after childbirth.
As study rep Davida Schiff told The Herald Tribune, pregnancy can be a time when women feel empowered to kick their addiction. But old habits can easily return, especially during the emotional ups-and-downs that accompany caring for a newborn.
“Pregnancy seems to be a time for change. Women tend to make healthier decisions during pregnancy. So, for women with an opioid addiction, it can be a motivating moment,” Schiff explained. “Where things fall apart is postpartum.”
The study itself monitored 4,000 Massachusetts women who had battled an opioid addiction before pregnancy (and some during). When it came to overdoses, the highest percentage occurred seven to twelve months after their baby was born. Issues listed that caused this group to use again included sleep deprivation, stress and depression.
And for the record, there is a definite increase in pregnant women who abuse opioids. The article goes on to say that the amount of moms-to-be who use has quadrupled in the past 15 years (killing nearly three million).
As far as postpartum is concerned, that stat accounts for nearly 15 percent of all women who give birth. And when it comes to minority moms or those living in poverty, that stat can be as high as 40 percent.
Schiff added that more welfare checks and continued health visits could be a key to overcoming this problem. Coming home from the hospital and feeling a loss of control or safety could easily trigger women who have used in the past.
“We should capitalize on the positive emotions women feel during pregnancy,” Schiff concluded. “I believe it is important to sustain their care or enhance it during the postpartum period, which is arguably the most challenging.”
We at inneractions know how very real postpartum depression and addiction can be for women in America. If either of these issues are plaguing you or someone you care about, know that we are always available to help.