New program helps pregnant and new mothers recover from substance use disorder
Banner – University Medical
Center Phoenix is developing a
comprehensive substance use
disorder program for pregnant
and parenting mothers and their
Thanks to recent philanthropic investment by the Diane & Bruce Halle Foundation, Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix is developing a comprehensive substance use disorder program for pregnant and parenting mothers and their infants.
The first of its kind in Arizona, the Diane & Bruce Halle Foundation Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program for Women & Infants will utilize an interprofessional team of physicians, nurses, behavioral health specialists, and social workers to treat and support pregnant women and new mothers struggling with addiction. Care will be coordinated among Banner’s obstetrics and maternal fetal medicine teams to span the duration of pregnancy, through delivery, and well after birth.
Five percent of pregnancies in the United States are affected by maternal drug use, increasing the risk of pregnancy and delivery complications and negative health outcomes for babies, including premature birth, low birth weight, cognitive and behavioral problems, and withdrawal. Substance use may also inhibit maternal-infant bonding after delivery, potentially extending the negative effects of prenatal drug exposure. Addicted mothers often face other challenges, including inadequate prenatal care, poor nutrition, chronic medical problems, and poverty.
“The intensive nature and length of this program are important features,” says Dr. C. Luke Peterson, who created and oversees the program. “That’s because studies show that treating addiction as a chronic disease, with treatment and support provided to the mother both during pregnancy and long after delivery, gives her child the same developmental potential as a child not exposed to substances.”
Participants will attend Intensive Outpatient Treatment three days a week for three hours at a time, in an environment that is infant- and breastfeeding-friendly. Patients will have access to a social services evaluation and support from a licensed medical social worker, integrated behavioral health evaluation and treatment, and patient and family education, including parenting classes. The program will also provide newborn supplies to mothers in need and link mothers to social and community resources.
“Working in the field of addiction medicine has given me the opportunity to hear people’s stories, see their hope and join in their successes,” says Dr. Peterson. “There is nothing greater than witnessing someone’s success and recovery, despite great odds, and the perseverance of the human spirit.”