In Pennsylvania, public health officials have been working to stabilize the opioid crisis. Like many places, addicted persons fell through the cracks a bit when the COVID-19 epidemic hit. In Pittsburgh, doctors and nurses have seen the silent addiction epidemic’s untold stories growing alongside the COVID-1p pandemic. Now, a hospital has a new center in their hospital for addicted moms and their babies to bond.
The Pregnancy Recovery Center
Since 2014, doctors, nurses, and social workers have been on the job at the University of UPMC-Mcgee Women’s Hospital helping addicted moms (both sober and trying to be) find the resources and support they need to be the best moms and self they can be.
While few people are aware of the service, clients say it is a lifeline. In other hospitals, there are many stigmas attached to addiction, and it makes Moms who live with it weary of asking for help. Yet, women who need help usually can make great use of anti-poverty programs, mental health assistance, and other resources.
Doctors say that addiction should be treated like any chronic health condition. Managing and minimizing its effect on both mother and child can create better health outcomes.
“It’s important to kind of normalize the pregnancy,” OB/GYN Dr. Elizabeth Krans told WPXI News. “And how excited they are to be a mom and how excited they are to have a child.”
Tearing Down the Stigma
With the treatment of the whole person, including addiction, doctors can help patients learn to manage their health. The outcomes are healthier moms and babies, says Dr. Krans. “It has changed the entire dynamic,” she told SPXI. “We have seen our treatment rates for the baby totally plummet. Less than 5 percent of babies need to receive medical therapy.”
In a world where addiction is increasingly a public health issue, the impact of specialized medicine, access to Medication-Assisted Treatment, and empathy cannot be overstated.
So far, the Pregnancy Recovery Center has helped around seven hundred women and their two hundred babies. They emphasize that women don’t have to be pregnant to seek out services currently.