Drugs and Pregnancy: Pregnant Women and Drug or Alcohol Abuse

Drugs and Pregnancy

Taking drugs and abusing alcohol is very harmful to any individual, but for pregnant women struggling with these issues, it can be dangerous for not only yourself but also the child you are carrying in your womb. Women that abuse these substances have an increased risk of experiencing a miscarriage, stillborn birth or other serious complications.  Continue reading to learn more about the dangers of drugs and pregnancy.

While taking medications is not dangerous in and of itself, it is the combination of certain medicine and the addition of alcohol that can cause harm to the body and the baby. It is always best to avoid alcohol at all costs and to talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking while you are pregnant.

Mixing Drugs and Pregnancy

What Happens to the Baby When I Take Certain Substances?

Cigarettes


When you smoke a cigarette, you are directly harming the child’s brain development as it blocks the oxygen delivery to the unborn child. It is proven that the effects of nicotine associated with smoking a cigarette are higher for the fetus than for the mother. Babies that are around cigarette smoke have been known to develop lung issues of all types as well as problems with their hearing and eyesight.

If you are pregnant, you need to stop smoking immediately to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby, but you also need to avoid areas where cigarette smoke is present. Exposing an unborn child to cigarette smoke increases their risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and can cause a lower birth weight for the child.

Alcohol


Taking even one sip of alcohol while pregnant can harm your unborn child. Miscarriages and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome are direct results of taking just one drink. While some people might like to think they can control the amount they consume, taking only one sip opens the door to potentially harming your child. The best way to not get in this situation is to avoid alcohol altogether. As much as doctors try to convince women that this is a dangerous habit while pregnant, there are over half a million women that have admitted to drinking while pregnant. Don’t be one of these women!

Cocaine


The women that use cocaine in their pregnancies are typically known not to take time to handle proper prenatal care, so the results on pregnancy are difficult to gather. Several of the known side effects of using cocaine while pregnant include dizziness, migraines, seizures, and separation of the placenta from the fetus.  Clearly, drugs and pregnancy are a dangerous combination.

Marijuana


Marijuana use while trying to get pregnant, during pregnancy, and throughout breastfeeding can lead to childhood cancers, premature birth, low birth weight, and other developmental issues. Many people think that using this substance is safe and will help you to relax and feel better, but it is, in fact, very harmful to your unborn child and should be avoided at all costs.

Painkillers


Unless they are prescribed by your doctor avoid painkillers as they can cause fluid to build upon your baby’s brain. The effects of many painkillers are very similar to that of using heroin, and can severely impact both the mother and the child. Drug and pregnancy can create an addiction in the mother but also the child once they are born.

What Are the Treatments for Drugs and Pregnancy?

Treatment for drug or alcohol addiction is available for women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. The earlier you get help and stop abusing these substances, the more likely you are to have a healthy pregnancy. Treatments vary depending on what you need help with, but all of your medical needs must be addressed and handled by your OBGYN doctor. Keeping your baby doctor in the loop on what you are doing will help ensure that you are getting the proper prenatal care you are needing.

Drug addiction is a serious matter and needs to be taken care of as early in the pregnancy (or before conception) if at all possible. One thing pregnant women need to remember is that whatever effects the drugs or alcohol have on you, they are much higher for your unborn child and it can be dangerous in a lot of situations.  If you are unsure about the effects of drugs and pregnancy, avoid using any substance until you know the facts.

Not all medications are considered to be unsafe for pregnancy, but it is always wise to double check with your healthcare provider as soon as you know you are pregnant to ensure that the medications you are currently taking are safe for both you and your child for the next nine months of pregnancy. To keep from getting in a bind with substance abuse, stay away from people who have a negative impact on you by exposing you or your child to substances that can cause lifelong effects on the baby.

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