Resources for Mothers

Pregnancy can be a special time for a woman. There is no more important job than bringing a healthy life into this world. You may be frightened or feel alone if you are currently pregnant and using substances, but there is still time for you to make changes to help your baby. We know you want what is best for your baby and there is support available. If you are looking for help, call the Tennessee Redline at 1-800-889-9789.

Ask Your Doctor

  • The earlier a medical professional is involved in your pregnancy, the better off your baby will be. The severity and duration of drug withdrawal the baby experiences after birth can be significantly decreased. Prenatal care is very important. If you do not yet have a doctor, click here to see a list of obstetricians near you.

  • It is important to talk to a medical professional about any medications and substance you use, such as alcohol, tobacco, prescription, over-the counter, or street drugs (including marijuana).

  • Don’t be scared to talk to your doctor about medications or drugs you take while you are pregnant: they are there to help you, not punish you. By talking to a medical professional before your pregnancy, you can reduce the chances of your baby being born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS).

Self Assessment

Sometimes, people can begin to rely on drugs or prescription pills to try to make them feel better if they are sad, depressed, lonely, or stressed out. If you are concerned about feeling this way, talk to your doctor or look at this self-assessment.

Self Assessment Test

NAS Symptoms

  • Babies born with NAS can suffer from withdrawal symptoms such as fever, seizures, blotchy skin, continuous crying, rapid breathing, respiratory problems, and extreme sensitivity to sounds and light.

  • In many cases, doctors and nurses give these newborns methadone or, the same drug used to treat heroin addiction, or morphine to ease their constant pain.

If you follow this “Healthy Baby Checklist”, it can help you stay on track to keep you and your baby healthy.

Healthy Baby Checklist

Strong Baby Knox

Improving the well-being of mothers, infants and children is an important community health goal for the Knox County Health Department. Their well-being determines the health of the next generation and can help predict future public health challenges for families, communities and the health care system. The Strong Baby project is an effort to promote healthier families and infants.

Strong Baby Knox Website

Have a Conversation with your Healthcare Practitioner

If you are prescribed or taking one or more of the following prescription pain medications, talk to your healthcare practitioner about treatment or other alternatives:

Opioid pain medications, central nervous system depressants, stimulants, anti-depressants, Neurontin (gabapentin), alcohol, street drugs such as heroin or meth, and non-prescription drugs.

If you are pregnant, or may become pregnant, your baby’s health is dependent on yours. When you use a drug, tobacco, caffeine, or drink alcohol, it significantly impacts how your baby develops in the womb. Tobacco and caffeine use can have a big effect on the health of your baby. Tobacco and caffeine can be even more dangerous to your baby when combined with other drugs.

It is not too late to seek help. Contact your medical practitioner or call the Tennessee Redline at 1-800-889-9789 in order to give your baby a healthy start.

Prescription Medications

There are a variety of reasons you may be taking prescription medications. However, these medications may have an impact on the development of your baby. Whether you take this medication with a prescription or for other reasons, it is important to be aware of the potential impact.

Preventing Pregnancy

The Health Department provides access to Voluntary Reversible Long-Acting Contraceptives for women. If you would like information on how to prevent pregnancy if you are using opioid drugs, find your nearest health department here.