Menu Close

Arrested After Birth – The Laws of Carrying a Child While Addicted

Claim Your Recovery Today!

Arrested After Birth – The Laws of Carrying a Child While Addicted


Using drugs or drinking alcohol while pregnant can significantly impact you and your baby. If you are struggling with substance abuse, and you’re carrying a child, you are at risk of getting arrested after birth, put in jail, losing custody of your baby, or risking premature labor/difficulties during birth.

Every 25 minutes, a drug-addicted baby is born in the U.S.

13% of pregnant women in the United States use either illegal drugs, prescriptions, or household substances while pregnant. Of that 13%, 19% of them abuse opiates.

arrested after birth

There are many risks of being a pregnant addict, but the most important risk is the chance of losing your unborn baby due to your addiction.

Laws Vary Between Different States

Many states are creating laws in regards to how they should handle women taking drugs while they are pregnant.

Tennessee passed a law in 2014 that criminalizes drug use during pregnancy. It was the first and only state to pass a law like this, but it was only active for a couple years. Under the law, Tennesee made it a crime to use drugs while pregnant and arrested about 100 women for doing so. The law dropped because it did more bad than good, and discouraged pregnant women from seeking critical prenatal care.

Abusing drugs or alcohol while you’re pregnant is very dangerous, for you and your baby. You’re putting you and your baby at risk for miscarriage, placental abruption, fetal death, maternal death, birth defects, premature babies, underweight babies, and stillborn births.

States are trying to support and find treatment centers for pregnant women with substance abuse. They realize that they’re not helping anyone if they just plainly arrest women after giving birth. It creates the chance of risking the baby’s health or killing the baby or the chance the woman kills herself before the baby is born.

Prenatal Substance Abuse

arrested after birth

Iowa, Minnesota and North Dakota’s health care providers are required to test and report prenatal drug exposure.

arrested after birth

Alaska, Arizona, Illinois, Lousiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Oklahoma, Utah, Rhode Island, and Virgina’s health care providers are required to report prenatal drug exposure.

arrested after birth

There are several states* that consider prenatal substance abuse part of their child welfare laws. In this case, prenatal drug exposure can end  in terminating parental rights because of child abuse or neglect.

*Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nevada, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

You Could Be Arrested After Birth

Laws change every year and it’s not safe whatsoever to use while you’re pregnant… (Heck, it’s not safe regardless if you’re pregnant or not). Addiction can be very overwhelming and scary, especially as a mom-to-be. Holding onto your addiction while carrying a child won’t be worth it in the end. You’ll be damaging yourself and your baby, and complications will arise.

So, what should you do?

Depending on where you live, there ARE recovery centers that help moms-to-be with their addiction. They are certified and registered to work in these situations and will benefit you in the long run.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, call us today. We have open beds available and can help you with your recovery.

Call us Today: 855-737-7363

Posted in Addiction, Health and Wellness