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Drug and Alcohol Addiction in Pregnant Women: Understanding Potential Outcomes and Consequences

We all know that alcohol and substance abuse usually have harmful effects on a person’s health in the long run, and more so if you are expectant. When a pregnant woman consumes alcohol or uses other illicit or licit drugs, her unborn baby is also exposed to them.

Given that everything an expectant woman consumes is shared with the child through the umbilical cord and into the fetus’s bloodstream, drug and alcohol use during pregnancy is risky and can compromise healthy child development. According to national statistics, 18% of expectant women smoke tobacco, while 9.8% consume alcohol, and 4% use other illegal substances.

It’s important to always remember that a portion of everything you ingest is shared with your baby. Whereas some things are good for fetal growth, others can be detrimental. There’s no safe amount of alcohol or illegal drugs during pregnancy. Pregnant women should thus avoid them altogether during the entire period. For a planned pregnancy, protect your child by quitting before you get pregnant, otherwise, stop drug or alcohol use immediately you suspect you are pregnant. If you can’t stop on your own, seek help from an accredited treatment center as soon as possible.

How Does Substance Abuse Affect the Baby during Pregnancy?

An unborn baby is usually connected to the mother through the placenta and the umbilical cord. Thus, anything that’s consumed by the mother will be fed to the baby, including drugs. The fetus is extremely sensitive and cannot eliminate toxins effectively like the mother.

This is how long-term drug use leads to chemical build up in the baby’s body causing permanent damage that’s manifested even in their adult life. While you may think that it’s only illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, etc., that are harmful to the unborn baby’s development, ordinary OTC medicines, and caffeinated substances can also have permanent effects on the fetus.

Drugs use during pregnancy increases the risk of giving birth to premature or still babies, babies with birth defects, and underweight babies. Common fatal health problems exhibited by cocaine users include seizures, respiratory failure, stroke, and heart attacks, which can also be passed on to the unborn baby. If you expose your unborn baby to marijuana, also called weed or cannabis, your child may suffer from behavioral problems and memory loss later on in life.

Babies born to women with substance abuse disorder may experience brain dysfunction even in their teens. These brain deficits are usually manifested in the child’s attentiveness, thinking, and cognitive performance. These are areas that play a vital role in the overall development of an individual from childhood to adulthood.

How Does Alcohol Abuse Affect the Baby during Pregnancy?

Alcohol use when pregnant can significantly increase the chances of stillbirth, fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), or a miscarriage. If your baby is diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), they’ll exhibit low birth weight, facial and heart defects, mental retardation, and learning difficulties. Since there’s no known amount of alcohol that may be safe while pregnant, expectant women are advised to refrain from consuming any form of alcoholic drinks.

Where to Find Help for Alcohol and Substance Abuse during Pregnancy

If you or a loved one is expectant and also suffering from an alcohol or substance use disorder, it’s important that you seek help before any harm befalls the baby. Getting the required help as soon as possible will increase your chances of delivering a happy, healthy baby. Infinite Recovery detox provides patients with holistic care for any drug or alcohol-related problem. It’s one of the best treatment facilities that gives you support and provides you with the proper resources to help you stop using drugs or alcohol.

A post by Kidal D. (5210 Posts)

Kidal D. is author at LeraBlog. The author's views are entirely their own and may not reflect the views and opinions of LeraBlog staff.

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