Substance Use Disorder During Pregnancy

We understand that drug dependency is a painful illness. And we understand that you want what is best for your baby. What’s safest for both of you is to start receiving treatment for chemical dependence as soon as you find out you are pregnant. Catholic Health has physicians who are licensed to provide this specialized treatment. We encourage you to speak with your doctor, or contact a Catholic Health resource listed below to start getting treated right away. We’ll ensure that you and your baby receive non-judgmental compassionate care.


I am taking Lortabs, Oxycontin, or another opioid medication. How will it affect my baby?
All prescription pain killers may have an effect on your pregnancy. Your baby may be born physically dependent (not addicted) and show symptoms of withdrawal. Learn more about the care your baby will receive in the hospital.

What other medications might cause my baby to become physically dependent?
It is very important that you discuss ALL of your medications with your doctor. It may be necessary and appropriate to continue your medications during pregnancy. If they need to be stopped, it should only be done with the assistance of your doctor.

I am dependent on heroin or another illegal drug. How will it affect my baby?
All illicit or prescribed drugs can cause a physical dependence in your baby. It is important to start receiving medically-assisted treatment (MAT) from a physician who is licensed to provide this treatment. Suboxone is an opioid substitute that is one form of MAT. It can be used to manage symptoms of withdrawal. With proper care, you can improve the outcome for both you and your baby.

Can I become chemically dependent on my pain medication if my doctor prescribed it?
Yes. Most people who take prescription pain killers or other addictive medications do so with no intention of becoming dependent on them. Many pregnant women who are regularly taking prescription pain killers were prescribed these drugs after surgery, a car accident, or other reasons. Unfortunately, some people do end up becoming chemically dependent on medication.


Catholic Health System employs Navigators who can coordinate your care, guide you through your pregnancy, and connect you with treatment and support services for substance use disorder. Call (716) 923-9674 for more information or to be connected to a navigator.

PDA Inc.
Pregnancy with substance use can be a fearful and crucial time. Positive Direction and Associates, Inc. will guide you and your family through your pregnancy. It is important that pregnant women be provided treatment without stigma and given education to be empowered. Positive Direction provides the safety and reassurance every mother needs and deserves. Contact PDA at (716) 961-3434 or

Nurse-Family Partnership
Pregnant with your first baby? Catholic Health offers a free program that partners you with a home-visiting nurse until your baby is two years old. Your nurse can help with prenatal care, getting and staying healthy before your baby is born, and managing the stress of being a new mom. Income guidelines apply. Call (716) 706-2300 or text (844) 637-6667 for more information.