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What is Perinatal Substance Abuse Program (PSAP)?

Perinatal substance abuse can negatively affect not only the mother but also the unborn child. Learn more here.

Understanding Perinatal Substance Abuse

Perinatal substance abuse is defined as misusing legal or illegal drugs during pregnancy. This includes drugs such as alcohol, opioids, amphetamines, or even tobacco. The exact delineation between substance use and abuse during the perinatal period is unclear, as any amount of substances can cause significant harm to the fetus.

A perinatal substance abuse program is designed to help women who struggle with substance abuse in pregnancy. Perinatal addiction can have severe, harmful effects on the expecting mother and unborn child. Many people who experience substance abuse during pregnancy require professional treatment to stop. 

How Common Is Perinatal Substance Abuse?

Perinatal drug abuse is a significant concern. Recent estimates of the prevalence of perinatal drug abuse in the United States show that:

  • 16% of pregnant women smoke cigarettes
  • 10% of pregnant women drink alcohol
  • 3% of pregnant women binge drink
  • 2% of pregnant women abuse opioids

Any perinatal drug abuse during pregnancy can have substantial effects on the fetus and may lead to serious complications during pregnancy.[1]

Effects of Perinatal Substance Abuse

There are two primary outcomes of concern with perinatal drug abuse: effects on the pregnancy and effects on the infant. Below, we’ve outlined the major health concerns that perinatal substance abuse can cause.

Effects on Pregnancy

The specific pregnancy effects depend on the substance being abused, but nearly every substance can have negative effects. Some of the main pregnancy outcomes that could be caused by perinatal substance abuse include:

  • Low birthweight
  • Preterm birth
  • Miscarriage or spontaneous abortion
  • Placental abruption
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Small fetus for gestational age
  • Premature rupture of membranes

As you can see, these deleterious outcomes affect not only the fetus but the mother as well. Complications such as ectopic pregnancy can be extremely dangerous, causing the fallopian tubes to burst open, potentially resulting in severe internal bleeding.[2]

Effects on the Exposed Fetus

Perinatal substance abuse affects the fetus as well. During pregnancy, oxygen and nutrients from the mother’s blood cross the placenta to reach the fetus. Drugs can also be transmitted via this route and can have several harmful effects on the exposed fetus. Some of these complications include:

  • Cognitive deficits
  • Infant mortality
  • Sudden infant death syndrome
  • Neonatal abstinence syndrome[3]
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome[4]

This is by no means a comprehensive list. The effects of drug use on an exposed fetus are extensive and could shape the rest of their lives.

What Is a Perinatal Substance Abuse Program (PSAP)?

Women struggling with perinatal addiction are often unable to stop on their own. Substance use disorders make it hard for people to control their substance use, and intense drug cravings and withdrawals don’t suddenly stop when a woman gets pregnant.

Perinatal addiction treatment, delivered at a PSAP, provides targeted support for pregnant women trying to stop using drugs or alcohol and offers excellent healthcare for their pregnancy.

Type of Care Provided in Any Perinatal Substance Abuse Program (PSAP)

At a PSAP, a variety of different treatment options are available. These treatments focus on addiction and perinatal mental health. Some of the treatments offered include:

  • Drug and alcohol detoxification
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Mental health treatment
  • Buprenorphine maintenance
  • Methadone maintenance
  • Perinatal therapy


Everyone who attends a PSAP will receive extensive perinatal counseling with a perinatal psychotherapist. A perinatal therapist meets with their clients in individual and group settings and helps them learn the skills and coping mechanisms needed for a lasting recovery.

Perinatal support professionals are also available around the clock to ensure that each client gets the targeted support and assistance they need during this crucial period.

Why Choose Genesis Recovery for PSAP?

Genesis Recovery provides a premier PSAP option for pregnant women struggling with substance abuse. Our program focuses on delivering the best in evidence-based treatments, a consistent approach to care, and the support of licensed and credentialed care providers.

Dedication to Your Wellness

At the heart of the Genesis Recovery PSAP program is a dedication to improving individual outcomes and delivering the best treatment options available. This includes offering the full continuum of care and ensuring you get the targeted support you need throughout the recovery process.

We understand how difficult stopping substance use can be on your own. Our experience has shown that anyone can recover from a substance use disorder with the psychological support and medical attention they need.

Treatment Options for Perinatal Substance Abuse at Genesis Recovery

Genesis Recovery offers several different perinatal substance abuse treatment programs. These include:

Residential Treatment Programs

Residential treatment is the most intensive treatment program available. At a residential program, individuals live on-site at our facility and attend treatment for several hours daily. This includes treatments such as:

  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Relapse prevention programs
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • 12-Step facilitation
  • Recreational therapy

In addition, residential treatment offers the opportunity to be surrounded by other people striving toward recovery. Peer-to-peer support is one of the most effective ways of helping people break free from addiction, and residential treatment prioritizes it.

Outpatient Treatment Programs

Outpatient treatment programs provide the same therapies as residential treatment but in a more flexible and relaxed format. Individuals can continue living at home and attend treatment for several hours a day, a few days a week. People often transition to outpatient programs after completing residential treatment, securing themselves a source of support and accountability.

Begin Healing Today

If you’re struggling with substance abuse in pregnancy, reach out to Genesis Recovery to learn more about our extensive PSAP treatment options. We understand that perinatal addiction can be incredibly hard on both you and the fetus — but stopping now, with the help of trained professionals, can take a monumental weight off your shoulders. Do not delay any longer. Reach out and get the help you need today; with recovery, a happy, healthy life awaits both you and your unborn child.


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