Comprehensive maternal addiction program in central Virginia

Pregnancy can be overwhelming enough without the added challenges of addiction to drugs or alcohol. The Behavioral Health Center at Chippenham Hospital in Richmond, Virginia offers life-changing and lifesaving care to pregnant women struggling with substance use.

The neonatal evaluation, support and treatment program (NEST) has helped women give their babies the healthiest start possible. With respectful treatment for parents and advanced care for babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), we’re here for your entire family.

To learn more about our treatment services for neonatal abstinence syndrome, call (804) 320-3627.

What is neonatal abstinence syndrome?

Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) refers to several problems babies may experience when they go through drug or alcohol withdrawal.

Women who take drugs during pregnancy give birth to babies who are addicted to those same drugs. Cutting your umbilical cord after birth cuts off your baby’s supply of the substance, causing your baby to go “cold turkey.” He or she or your baby may begin to show painful or challenging withdrawal symptoms anywhere from 24 hours to seven days after birth.

Neonatal abstinence syndrome symptoms

Babies exposed to drugs and alcohol may experience problems in the womb and after birth. These include delayed growth or development, birth defects and premature birth.

Once born, neonatal abstinence syndrome impacts each baby differently. Factors include the type of drug used, how frequently it was used, the last time it was used and whether the baby was born full-term. Common symptoms of NAS include:

  • Tremors
  • High-pitched crying
  • Excessive crying
  • Sleep problems
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Inability to suck or feed
  • Dehydration
  • Seizures
  • Tight muscle tone
  • Unstable body temperature

Drugs associated with neonatal abstinence syndrome

Most cases of NAS are caused by drugs called opioids, although symptoms are also linked to other prescription medications, alcohol, nicotine and street drugs. Talk to your doctor right away if you are pregnant and using any of the following:

  • Hydrocodone (commonly known as VICODIN®)
  • Oxycodone (also known as OXYCONTIN® and PERCOCET®)
  • Codeine
  • Morphine (including the brand-name drugs KADIAN® and AVINZA®)
  • Tramadol
  • Heroin
  • Antidepressants
  • Sleeping pills (a class of drugs called benzodiazepines)

Neonatal evaluation, support and treatment program

Our neonatal evaluation, support and treatment (NEST) program addresses substance use and helps you manage your pregnancy. This partial hospitalization program, also known as a day treatment program, provides you the medical and behavioral health services in our facility several hours a day, up to five days a week—and allows you to return to your own home in the evening.

We’ll also connect you with the resources you need to proudly and confidently maintain sobriety as a new mom. Our program offers:

  • Safe, physician-guided detox
  • Goal setting and treatment planning
  • Comprehensive prenatal care
  • Daily progress meetings with you and our staff to identify areas of concern and discuss your goals
  • Structured group therapy sessions with other pregnant moms
  • Introduction to other local recovery resources, including 12 step programs
  • Psychiatric evaluations and care
  • Medication management
  • Ongoing obstetric care to monitor your baby’s growth and development
  • Birth planning, including getting ready for labor and delivery and preparing for any immediate medical care your baby may need
  • Self-directed assignments focused on self-discovery, behavior insights and preventing relapse
  • Family meetings designed to help you create a healthy support system
  • Continued care throughout your postpartum recovery

Quitting substance use early in pregnancy reduces your baby’s exposure and risk of addiction and withdrawal symptoms, but we know quitting is easier said than done. That’s why we offer:

  • Intense, focused treatment. Our unique day treatment model means you receive medical care, individual counseling and peer support tailored to your needs.
  • Long-term, comprehensive support. You have an entire team of medical professionals and substance use experts on your side, throughout your pregnancy and after your baby is born.
  • Courtesy and respect. We treat women of all ages, from all walks of life, in a non-judgmental environment where respect, honesty and diversity are valued.

If you choose to have your baby at Chippenham, we also provide:

  • Leading high-risk pregnancy care. Our maternal-fetal medicine doctors will carefully monitor you and your baby to prevent or treat preterm labor and other problems.
  • Neonatal intensive care. Our Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) cares for Richmond’s most vulnerable babies with neonatologists (doctors experienced in advanced newborn care) on campus.
  • Comprehensive pediatric care. If your baby needs additional medical care after leaving the NICU, we offer advanced pediatric care on campus, including emergency, hospital, specialty and surgical services.