For most women, pregnancy is a wonderful and an exciting period of their life. For the next 40 weeks, the new mom-to-be will anticipate the birth of her child, begin the attachment process and prepare emotionally and physically to take on the role of mother and nurturer. For other women, pregnancy is a time of great stress and indecision . . How am I going to raise this child? Should I keep this baby? I have no support or help! Still, we have another population of women who are dependent on opiates / opioids as well as other illicit substances and they fear the worst for their unborn baby . . . How will the drug(s) I have used affect my baby? Will CPS be involved? Will they take my baby from me? I do not want my family to know I use drugs! It is to these pregnant women, SOAP MAT staff would like to say “congratulations on your pregnancy, we are here to assist you with methadone treatment and to support you throughout your pregnancy and after your baby is born.” We also want you to know that whether or not you decide to keep your baby, we as a staff are here to support you in your decision making process.
For the opiate-dependent pregnant woman, methadone is recommended for you to take during your pregnancy so that there will be no complications during the pregnancy and/or at the birth of your child. You will not be able to detoxify from methadone during your pregnancy because it may cause you to deliver early, result in the baby going through withdrawals in utero and/or result in the baby not growing as well as it should. Methadone is a safe medication as long as you take it as prescribed by your treatment medical doctor and you use no other illicit or mood-altering substances or prescribed medications without a doctor’s okay. Yes, your baby will be dependent on methadone too, but the neonatologists at the hospital will give your baby another opiate medication to slowly wean him/her off the methadone. If you have used no other illicit drugs during your pregnancy, have followed treatment recommendations and are not HIV positive, you should be able to breast feed your infant.
Once you have enrolled and have started taking methadone your treatment counselor and the perinatal specialist will assist you with the following services:
- Obtaining prenatal care (only needed if you do not have a prenatal provider)
- Obtaining presumptive Medi-Cal (only needed if you do not have Medi-Cal or another medical insurance carrier established)
- Developing a plan for your baby
- Educating you about methadone, the development of your baby in utero, how illicit drugs may affect your developing baby, meconium screening, NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome), what the neonatologist may give your baby to wean h/her of methadone, nursing your baby while taking methadone, visiting and caring for your baby while h/she is hospitalized, hepatitis C, and any other questions you may have.
- Intervening with Child Welfare Services and the Dependency Court
- Educating you on what your legal rights are while taking methadone
- Providing referrals for other perinatal, mental health, dental and case management services, Public Health Nursing, parent education classes, low cost housing, baby items, etc.
- Advocacy with other community providers and the legal system.
SOAP MAT, LLC staff is here to assist you with your treatment needs and to encourage you to abstain from all illicit opiates and other mood-altering substances. We want you to be healthy, have a healthy baby and to look forward to being a mother. Again, we congratulate you for the upcoming birth of your baby and hope that you would make SOAP MAT your treatment program for opiate dependence.
The following are some items we will need from you in order for enrollment to occur at the SOAP MAT treatment program so that you can begin dosing the day you come in:
- Proof of Pregnancy
- Verification that you have a prenatal provider
- Your Medi-Cal card
- California ID or driver’s license
If you do not have a prenatal provider and/or medical insurance, please call SOAP MAT at 760-305-7528 and ask for the Perinatal Specialist, Kathie Morgan and she will assist you in getting these items.
Kathleen D. Morgan, LCSW