Substance Use & Pregnancy
Being pregnant and struggling with alcohol or other substance use can feel overwhelming. But you’re not alone. Here are some things you should know. Substance use during pregnancy does not mean you don’t love your baby. Addiction is a chronic health condition and you have the right to non-judgmental, supportive care. The earlier you reach out for support, the better for you and your baby.
Open up to someone you trust. This might be your significant other, family and friends, a therapist or doctor, or a human service agency. Go to routine pre-natal appointments and share your challenges with your provider early on. This information helps your provider support you in developing a care plan that will work best for you and your baby.
In the state of Connecticut, we believe children and families succeed best when all people who are pregnant and using substances develop a Family Care Plan before birth. To learn more about Family Care Plans, click here.
There is no singular path to recovery. All journeys come with unique challenges and strategies for healing. Because of this, it is important to know about all your available options.
First, talk to your provider.
It’s important to talk to your provider before starting any new regimen. Changes in medication or substance use can impact your pregnancy and a provider can help you to navigate the safest next steps for you and your baby.
Medication Assisted Treatment/Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MAT/MOUD)
Did you know Medication Assisted Treatment/Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MAT/MOUD) is safe for use during pregnancy? MAT/MOUD can be a helpful and beneficial treatment for you if you are struggling with an Opioid Use Disorder and/or Alcohol Use Disorder. MAT/MOUD assists in normalizing brain chemistry, blocking the euphoric effects of opioids and/or alcohol, relieving physiological cravings, and normalizing body functions. Talk to your provider about what medications may work best for you.
Mental & Behavioral Health Therapies
If you are struggling with a substance use disorder, you may also experience a negative impact to your mental health or be struggling with a mental health disorder at the same time. There are several behavioral therapies that can help treat both your substance use and mental health disorders including but not limited to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Assertive Community Treatment (ACT). Talk to your health care provider to determine what treatment may be best for you and give the treatment time to work.
Support Groups & Meetings
Joining a support group to connect with peers experiencing similar challenges as you can be helpful to your recovery. Support groups can be a safe space away from certain triggers and offer the opportunity to learn new, healthier coping skills from others. There are a variety of support groups to choose from, but just as with substance use treatment, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. You can try out different groups in order to find the best fit. Groups like AA and NA are widely available in CT and also offer virtual options.
Harm reduction services can also be part of your medical care and treatment plan. These services can help connect you to education, counseling, and referral for treatment for your substance use disorder. They can help you lessen your substance use and promote coping strategies that will help you and your baby. Some harm reduction methods can include: keeping Narcan/Naloxone on hand, testing your substances for fentanyl, using clean and sterile equipment, never using alone, decreasing your use, etc.
CT DMHAS Programs
In recognition of the unique experiences and challenges faced by those seeking treatment for substance use disorders, DMHAS funds specialized and comprehensive programs. These include residential treatment, outpatient treatment, and specialized care management for women transitioning from a residential setting to community-based recovery services. These services are non-judgmental and here to meet your needs.
Women's REACH (Recovery, Engagement, Access, Coaching & Healing)
The Women's REACH (Recovery, Engagement, Access, Coaching & Healing) program provides statewide integration of 20 Recovery Navigators. Recovery Navigators are women who are in a position to use their own personal recovery journey to help others. Services are prioritized for pregnant or parenting women with substance use or co-occurring disorders.
PROUD (Parents Recovering from Opioid Use Disorder)
The PROUD (Parents Recovering from Opioid Use Disorder) Program serves pregnant and postpartum women with substance use disorders, including opioid use disorder.
Specialty Treatment Programs for Women and Children
In recognition of the unique experiences and challenges faced by women seeking treatment for substance use disorders, CT DMHAS provides specialized and comprehensive programs for women and their children.
This website provides information on available beds within the DMHAS system for mental health treatment. The website is updated daily.
24/7 Access Line
This line facilitates access to Substance Use services for Connecticut residents. Call their number at 1-800-563-4086 or visit their website to learn more.