SSM Health Medical Minute: WISH Center focuses on expecting moms who are opioid-dependent

Medical Minute

The WISH (Women and Infant Substance Help) Center provides comprehensive, high-risk maternity care for people who are affected by opioid dependency. Features include ultrasound, fetal monitoring, examination rooms, and private, comfortable rooms for initiating treatment.

The program uses MAT therapy (Medication Assisted Treatment). Dr. Niraj Chauvan, a SLUCare OB/GYN at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital, says the WISH Center is the first clinic of its kind in Missouri.

This is a comprehensive care model to treat persons with opioid use disorder. These medications alleviate the withdrawal symptoms from opioids and help curb drug cravings. The goal is to start expectant mothers on MAT therapy as early as possible to minimize pregnancy complications and reduce the length of hospital stay for newborns. 

At the WISH Center, people receive care from a variety of specialists, all in one place. The OB physicians specialize in addiction medicine and complex pregnancies. Nurse practitioners, pharmacists, social workers, substance use counselors and more are available during regular appointments.

And when it is time for delivery, SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital provides an exceptional patient experience for all. Thanks to a highly trained labor, postpartum, and pediatric team designed for the specific needs of opioid-exposed moms and babies, the focus remains on keeping families and their babies together. Labor and postpartum pain is managed, families are supported in learning soothing techniques to become experts on their own babies, and the length of stay is minimized, all in a warm, accepting, and stigma-free environment.

After delivery, care is continued in the AfterCare Program when the risk of relapse is greatest. This includes partnering with outside organizations for such things as job skills, housing, life skills, and parenting to help moms maintain their sobriety.

To learn more about the WISH Center, click here.

The SSM Health Medical Minute airs Wednesdays on News 11 at 7 p.m. and FOX 2 News at 9 p.m.

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