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Drug Detox for Pregnant Women in Los Angeles

Drug Detox for Pregnant Women in Los Angeles Resurgence Behavioral Health

Dangers of Abusing Drugs While Pregnant

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), nearly 5.5% of women who were pregnant between the ages of 15 and 44 in 2012 and 2013 were also illicit drug users at the time of pregnancy, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that nearly one in ten pregnant women in California has reported using alcohol.

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It is dangerous, not only to the mother but also to the baby, to use drugs and alcohol while pregnant. Substance use while pregnant can cause:

  • An increase in the risk for stillbirth 2 to 3 times, depending on the substance used
  • Premature birth
  • Neurological defects in the baby
  • Miscarriage
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)
  • Low birth weight
  • Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), which is a baby born with a dependence on opioids

What is Drug Detox?

Drug detox is the process a person’s body needs to go through in order to purge the drug toxins from your system. Medical drug detox is the safest way for a pregnant mother to stop using drugs and alcohol. This is a program that includes:

  • 24-hour supervision
  • Comprehensive medical care
  • A safe tapering-off method for many substances
  • Medications that can relieve withdrawal symptoms and side effects, so you do not suffer unnecessarily

For a pregnant woman, some medications are not safe and may create complications if not used by professional caregivers who are familiar with the medical aspects of pregnancy, or if not overseen full-time by medical professionals in a substance abuse treatment center. Withdrawal symptoms can be especially harmful to the fetus if not taken care of properly, so a medically assisted treatment (MAT) program is the safest method of stopping drug and alcohol abuse while pregnant.

Going Through Withdrawal While Pregnant

Depending on the substance you’ve been using, how much, and for how long, among other factors, you may experience a set of withdrawal symptoms during detox that can range from mildly unpleasant to dangerous to your health and the health of the fetus.

Quitting drugs or alcohol and stopping prescription medications “cold turkey” is not recommended, as the brain and body will try to restore chemical balance, leading to physical and psychological symptoms.


Drug Detox Process for Pregnant Women

In a medically assisted treatment (MAT) detox center for pregnant women, you will be provided with not only medical care but also therapy and counseling, to ensure psychological and emotional needs are also met. This is a difficult time for anybody, but being pregnant adds another layer of pressure, emotion, and stress.

Co-occurring mental health issues are also treated in a dual diagnosis program during MAT. A low-impact antidepressant may be introduced at this time, as well as specific therapeutic methodologies. Issues like bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, depression, PTSD, and ADHD are some common mental illnesses that may be present alongside an alcohol addiction or drug abuse.

Medications are often used in a detox center for pregnant women because the risk of harming the baby is greater if the mother continues drinking or using drugs, and if the mother experiences strong withdrawal symptoms. Drug treatment at this stage is a fine balance, and medical professionals are the only people who can safely make the decision on how to proceed. Some examples of addiction that may require medication for pregnant women during detox include:

·       Opioid detoxes optimally occur in the second trimester but may begin sooner if the risk of harming the baby in the first trimester is present. Medications like methadone, suboxone, or Subutex may be used. Sometimes the doses are split to allow the metabolism to process the medications while remaining effective in their body’s increased metabolism. In some cases, buprenorphine is also used for opioid detox in pregnant women.

·       Cocaine detox is more of a psychological issue and is provided with full medical care, along with very strong counseling and supportive psychiatric treatment. Medications may not be necessary, but for some people, mood stabilizers help.

·       Alcohol detox requires short-acting benzodiazepines if severe, to stave off the possibility of experiencing seizures. Blood pressure medications like Clonidine may be used as well.

Risks of Drug Detox While Pregnant

Some of the medical risks of drug detox for pregnant women in Los Angeles include:

  • Seizures during alcohol and benzodiazepine withdrawal
  • Dehydration and depletion of essential vitamins and minerals
  • Overall distress, high blood pressure, and tension adding stress to the fetus
  • Self-harm due to extreme depression or drug-induced psychosis

Benefits of Detoxing in a Medical Detox

Some of the strongest benefits to going to detox in a medical facility include:

  • Full-time medical treatment during your entire detox period
  • A safe and drug-free environment to help you avoid temptation and triggers
  • Full support through this difficult time of your life, provided by caring, trauma-informed staff who want what is best for you, and who will not judge you during this vulnerable time
  • Access to medications that will keep you comfortable, so you do not have to suffer through painful or distressing withdrawal symptoms, with the knowledge that these medications are safe for your growing baby
  • Doctors who understand addiction during pregnancy, and know which protocols to follow
  • Holistic care that will include your mental wellness and overall well-being, rather than only focusing on your addiction
  • Hydration and nutritional support to keep you and your baby strong
  • An easy transition through the full continuum of care, moving directly into an inpatient rehab program or an outpatient rehabilitation program like a partial hospitalization program (PHP) or an intensive outpatient program (IOP)

Safe Drug Detox for Pregnant Women at Resurgence

At the best of times, drug detox can feel scary or daunting, but while pregnant, any medical decision becomes that much more important. You want to make sure you are doing the right thing for yourself and for your baby.

The truth is that detoxing from drugs using prescription medications at the right times is the safest thing you can do for your baby, and for yourself. If you try and quit on your own, the withdrawal symptoms can become dangerous, and continuing the use of drugs and alcohol is also very dangerous.

Drug detox for pregnant women in Los Angeles is available at Resurgence Behavioral Health detox and rehab center. At Resurgence, we provide safe and effective prenatal substance abuse treatment, and treatment for other people who have complicated medical conditions that create complex detox situations.

Many drug rehabs will not help women who are pregnant who need this level of treatment as it adds a level of complexity to the rehabilitation process, but at Resurgence, we consistently treat 5 or 6 pregnant women in the program at any given time. These women may be on methadone, suboxone, or Subutex while detoxing.

Our medical director has published work on treating pregnant women for substance use disorders, including safe detox methodologies for those who are pregnant, outlining detox protocols for women who are pregnant and struggling with substance abuse

The detox and rehabilitation process at Resurgence is as follows:


Our intake process is in-depth and uses both medical examinations as well as psychological screenings and an interview to determine which types of treatment will work best for your individual case.


Depending on which substances you are detoxing from, along with other factors like comorbid mental health conditions, whether you were using more than one substance at one time, and your level of addiction, you may be in our inpatient detox center for a few days or a few weeks.

Inpatient Rehab

After your medical detox is complete, you will likely be recommended to move into a residential treatment program for drug rehabilitation, where you live inside a rehab facility for 30 to 90 days. Days in inpatient rehabilitation are structured, with substance use disorder treatment like:

  • Behavioral therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, rational emotive behavioral therapy, and dialectical behavioral therapy
  • Dual diagnosis programs
  • Life skills and vocational skills training programs
  • Group therapy, 12-step, and SMART groups
  • Experiential therapy
  • EMDR
  • Physical fitness and nutritional counseling
  • Relapse prevention training

Our accommodations are comfortable, with full-sized beds and delicious, healthy food prepared by on-site chefs. Pets are welcome with pre-approval, and we also offer couples rehabilitation programs and family recovery therapy to not only help you reconnect with loved ones but also to help you build up your support system. Being in a sober living environment for a full month or longer will help you recover in peace, with plenty of time and space to rest your body and take in your treatments without outside distractions.

Outpatient Rehab

After your time in inpatient treatment is over, outpatient rehab is strongly recommended. You will live at home or in a sober living facility and attend alcohol and drug recovery meetings, group therapy, individual therapy, doctor’s appointments, and other treatments and sober activities in a nearby outpatient facility or recovery center. The outpatient options we offer at Resurgence are:

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) – full days of treatment in our day treatment center, while you live outside the facility, up to seven days a week, usually a transitory step between inpatient detox and/or rehab, and an intensive outpatient program.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) – a flexible intensive program, where you can keep a normal daily routine, including going to work or school, and attending treatments, therapy, etc. after work in the evenings or on weekends in dedicated drug treatment centers. At some locations, we also offer a virtual IOP, on a secure telehealth platform.

Outpatient Aftercare

Once you have completed an IOP, you will not be left to handle things on your own. Our team will remain here for you for as long as you want in our aftercare program. Postpartum women may join sober alumni activities, support groups, and stay in touch with the same doctors and therapists you have come to know through our programs, ensuring a continuity of care, especially important for pregnant people and new parents.

To verify insurance or learn more about payment assistance and how we can help you detox and rehabilitate while pregnant, contact Resurgence today. Our specialized team can take care of you and your unborn baby, ensuring you remain safe and comfortable as you quit using drugs and alcohol, and helping you build the best possible future for yourself and your child.  

Addiction Treatment that
Just Works

Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.

Alexa Iocco

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