Mothers and Babies

Substance use impacts families in many ways.

If you are pregnant, might get pregnant, or know someone who is—you should know that there are many types of resources and treatment available to help new families get off to a good start.

Treatment and Support

Pregnancy is a time of new beginnings—a new life is growing, and new changes are on the way. Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) helps women avoid opioid use during pregnancy, and is recommended for pregnant women with opioid use disorders.

What a mother using opioids or in treatment needs to know:

  • She deserves healthcare that makes her feel safe, supported, and never judged.
  • She has a care team—everyone wants the best outcome for her and her child.
  • She shouldn’t stop taking opioids or treatment without talking to a healthcare provider first.
  • Regular prenatal care and self-care are important.
  • She is in charge; she and her child can have a future with joy together.
  • Pregnancy outlook for mother and child are positive—with treatment and support.

New mothers and pregnant women who use opioids can also benefit from support groups, prenatal care, and gender-specific care that are just for them. Ask your doctor about these services, or visit these websites to learn more:

When Baby is Born

A newborn baby whose mother has taken certain drugs or medicines during pregnancy can go through withdrawal. When the mother has taken drugs or medicines that are opioids, this is called Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome (NOWS). Most babies with NOWS get treatment in the hospital after birth, and get better in a few days or weeks. We don’t know exactly how NOWS affects a child in the first few years of life and beyond.

What a mother needs to know about her new baby:

  • The best place for a baby with NOWS is their mother’s arms.
  • The best treatment for a baby with NOWS is their mother’s touch.
  • The best thing a mother can do for a baby with NOWS is be present.
  • Her care team will help her make a plan to bring baby home safely.
  • Most mothers can breastfeed while on methadone.

For help getting ready or caring for your new baby, consider these program and service options:

  • Birth to Three: The mission of the Connecticut Birth to Three system is to strengthen the capacity of Connecticut’s families to meet the developmental and health-related needs of their infants and toddlers who have delays or disabilities.
  • Child First: Child First helps families build strong, nurturing relationships that heal and protect young children from the impact of trauma and chronic stress.

Family Members and Loved Ones

Pregnant and parenting mothers who are using opioids or methadone may feel guilty, alone, and judged, which might stop them from getting help or going to a doctor. It can be hard to see a family member struggle with opioid use, but mothers need someone on their side. The best thing we can do for babies is to give their mothers the care, kindness, and compassion that all new mothers need, especially those with SUD.

For treatment and resources, look into the following:

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