RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Mo. – For those who are suffering from opioid dependency, the Women and Infant Substance Help (WISH) Center at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond Heights offers comprehensive, high-risk maternity care. September is National Drug Addiction Recovery Month, a time when the team at the WISH Center hopes to reduce the stigma of mental health and drug addiction for pregnant women.

The WISH Center team includes highly trained labor, postpartum, and pediatric teams designed to support the specific needs of opioid-exposed moms and babies.

The OB physicians specialize in addiction medicine and complex pregnancies. Nurse practitioners, pharmacists, social workers, substance use counselors and more are available during appointments. The goal is to start expectant mothers on MAT (Medication Assisted Therapy) therapy as soon as possible to minimize pregnancy complications and reduce the length of stay for newborns.

“The spirit and really the morale of the entire team towards understanding, appreciating, and acknowledging the tough journey that every patient brings when she walks in through the door,” Dr. Niraj Chavan, the maternal and fetal medicine OB/GYN and director of the WISH Center, said.

Dr. Chavan hopes to destigmatize drug addiction and provide trauma-informed care for every patient.

“The Wish Center is really there to support our patients, our women postpartum, all throughout recovery—all throughout two years, actually,” he said.

To learn more about the WISH Center at St. Mary’s Hospital, click here.