The Health Center’s “Strong Women, Strong Families” project supports Women Working Wonders’ objective to assist women in transition, to encourage women to build on their strengths and increase self-worth while reducing stigma associated with substance use disorder.
The new grant will provide as many as 40 low-income pregnant and postpartum women with substance use disorder (SUD) with access to a specially designed support group and health-related services, to promote their transition into recovery and strengthen families. The project is a component of the Supporting Healthy Families collaboration between Lowell CHC and Lowell General Hospital, to provide targeted supports, to strengthen young families impacted by SUD.
Women with SUD are at a higher risk for miscarriage, seizure and high blood pressure. Fifty to 80 percent of opioid-exposed infants will develop feeding issues, called neonatal abstinence syndrome, putting them at risk of lifelong behavioral and developmental problems. The first year after birth is a very stressful period for new moms, and postpartum women in recovery are at increased risk of relapse and overdose within a year after giving birth. Pregnant women with SUD may also hesitate to seek help during or after pregnancy due to fears of legal separation from their child.