It can be difficult to determine what the proper protocol for alcohol and drug abuse in pregnant women is. There are many factors to consider when determining whether or not detox can be done safely.
It first needs to be determined if the unborn child is addicted to the drug as well. Typically if a pregnant woman is addicted to an opiate like heroin she can go through the detox process gradually with the help of a qualified doctor. If detox is done safely and under the care of a specialist there is a good chance that the unborn child will not be born with an addiction to the substance the pregnant woman was detoxed from. Medical detox using drugs like methadone can be very dangerous for both mother and fetus
Typically a normal addict is able to medically detox within a few days or a week at the most and the methadone is used to control the symptoms of withdrawal. When a woman is pregnant her detox takes much longer. If a woman who is pregnant and addicted to heroin is accepted into medical detox, she will be given a replacement of her normal dose of heroin in the form of methadone. She will take the methadone on a prescribed schedule. Over the course of treatment the amount she is given will be reduced gradually until she is taking either very little or no drug.
Generally it is much safer for the unborn child for the mother to be on a methadone program than for her to keep using drugs illegally. The program ensure that the baby is not caused any distress by inconsistent use. When a methadone substitution is being used the baby gets a controlled dose of the drug and it is being weaned off throughout the process.
Detox is dangerous for pregnant woman and should never be attempted alone.