Pregnancy can be stressful, but New Directions for Women provides tools to help lighten the load and help keep women from relying on substances as stress relievers. We see addiction treatment work every day, no matter what your situation is. We are here to help you, your family, and your treatment needs.
Research shows that use of tobacco, alcohol, or illicit drugs or misuse of prescription drugs by pregnant women can have severe health consequences for infants. This is because many substances pass easily through the placenta, so substances that a pregnant woman takes also reach the fetus.
Women often have many barriers when it comes to getting treatment for a substance use disorder. Some of the barriers that women face includes:
- Childcare or daycare needs
- Financial struggles
- Shame or guilt
- Mental health problems
- Support from family or friends
Substance Use During Pregnancy
Substance use and drug addiction can be extremely harmful for not only the mother, but the unborn child, depending on the drugs that are being taken.
Many women seek out substances or other drugs to cope with difficult challenges they are having in their life. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a common disorder that the women we serve face, and often they will use substances to cope with their trauma.
Learning about the different substances that women use during pregnancy and the effects on the unborn child can be truly heartbreaking, although we understand addiction and what it can do to a person. Being pregnant and/or having children should never be a barrier when it comes to getting treatment and help for an addiction, even during the trimesters of pregnancy.
Vaping Without Nicotine
Most vaping devices and e-cigarettes will contain nicotine and other harmful chemicals, but not all of them contain nicotine. Generally speaking, vaping without nicotine is safer than vaping with nicotine, but there is still lack of research that has been done to determine all the effects of vaping.
Vaping without nicotine poses its own risks and potential harmful effects to women who choose to do it. Some of the dangerous ingredients in vaping devices and e-cigarettes can include:
- Traces of carcinogenic nitrosamines
- Small amounts of formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, which are carcinogenic to humans
- Toxic metals such as cadmium, nickel and lead.
Vaping, even without nicotine can cause someone to have irritation in their lungs, exposure to harmful toxins as listed above, and inflammation caused by an immune system response to vaping.
One 2018 in-vitro study found that exposure can cause an inflammatory response in immune system cells. The most prominent inflammatory response from vaping happens within the throat or lungs, but heavy vaping can cause it to travel all throughout the entire body. This indicates that it would cause harmful effects to an unborn baby. Another in-vitro study from 2018 suggests that the flavoring in e-juice may activate an inflammatory response with certain types of white blood cells which can affect someone’s immune system from functioning properly.
Vaping Without Nicotine During Pregnancy?
Most vaping devices do contain nicotine in their cartridges, but that does not mean that all do. It is possible to find devices that do not contain nicotine, however there are still many dangerous chemicals in them that could potentially harm you and your baby, while you are pregnant.
Harmful Chemicals in Vaping Devices
Some potentially harmful flavoring chemicals found in vape fluids, in addition to the ones mentioned above, include:
- propylene oxide
In addition to what is listed above, there are other chemicals that are used and may not even be listed due to the lack of information from the manufacturer. The best option is to avoid vaping altogether, but you can also avoid flavors that are consistently associated with being a respiratory irritant.
Vaping with marijuana does not contain nicotine, but it still contains ingredients that can cause harm to a woman and her baby. The ingredient that causes the most concern is the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana.
Side Effects of Marijuana Vaping:
- Memory loss
- Increased heart rate
- Difficulty with problem solving
- Impaired coordination
Is Vaping During Pregnancy Safe?
Many women will begin vaping or using vaping devices, e-cigarettes or other forms to replace their habit of cigarette smoking in hopes that it will be a better alternative, or help them “kick” their nicotine habit while they are pregnant, keeping their baby safe.
What they don’t know is, that vaping can be just as harmful as cigarette smoking, due to the unknown chemicals that may be in the device that they are using. Also, there is no way to know how much of any given chemical is being used at one time.
Vaping, with or without nicotine can be harmful to an unborn fetus and could potentially harm the mother with the chemicals that are being used in the vaping device. It would be better to not use it at all.
Cigarettes Versus Vaping Devices
Although they may be considered somewhat safer than regular tobacco cigarettes, there have not been many studies that show that e-cigarette or vaping devices are less harmful, especially to a pregnant woman. Because the product is relatively new, and difficult to study there is not much information to determine either way. What we do know, is that women who are pregnant should not use tobacco or nicotine products because of the negative effects to their baby.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a 2016 Surgeon General report say that e-cigarettes are not safe for pregnant women, but because it has a potential benefit to smokers who are not pregnant, researchers are still conducting studies.”
Treatment at New Directions for Women
There are many reasons a pregnant woman with a drug addiction would benefit from going to a drug rehab. Choosing an inpatient program that has all of the benefits you need to help you with your recovery is important, so you want to consider all of the factors when choosing a rehab facility. Choosing one far from home can offer you a fresh start. It gives you a new environment to move forward in without ties to tempting past relationships. It may also offer a fresh start psychologically, as well.
Our treatment center specializes in providing support for all the unique issues you face. At our drug rehab for women, we treat all women with respect. If you are pregnant and have an addiction, prolonging the use of drugs or alcohol can increase the risk of complications and birth defects to your unborn child. Getting help should be the first step you take. Choosing recovery can be a difficult process, but with the correct support system, anyone can change their lifestyle and overcome their addiction.
If you are struggling with using e-cigarettes or other vaporizing devices, contact someone at New Directions for Women. Our highly trained and compassionate staff treat all women who are struggling with substance use disorders, including tobacco products. Visit our contact page to reach out today.