Effects of Substance Abuse During Pregnancy
Alcohol Abuse During Pregnancy
- Physical defects
- Developmental disabilities
- Increased risk of mental illness
- Hyperactivity and impulsivity
- Poor social skills and trouble with relationships
- Learning difficulties
- Poor coordination
- Learning disabilities
- Trouble with attention span and focus
- Trouble with mathematics
- Trouble with reading and writing
- Trouble with understanding time, numbers and language
- Trouble with understanding emotions and social cues
Smoking Cigarettes During Pregnancy
- Early birth
- Poor growth
- Lower birth weight
- Adult health problems
- Increased risk of stillbirth
- Lung and heart disease for the mother
Drug Abuse During Pregnancy
Can Babies Be Born with Addictions?
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
What is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?
Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is an example of a substance-related disorder that can affect a baby’s development. When a child is exposed to alcohol during pregnancy, they experience a wide range of symptoms and problems as a result. This is called fetal alcohol syndrome.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is caused by maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Research suggests that drinking even small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy can cause lifelong harm to the fetus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that as many as 0.3 out of every 1000 children are born each year with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).
FAS is one of the leading preventable causes of mental disability in the U.S. Even light or moderate alcohol use during pregnancy can be harmful. The level of risk depends on how often you drink and the amount you consume during each alcohol-using episode. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid alcohol entirely since no level of alcohol use has been proven safe for the baby.
Quitting Drugs and Alcohol During Pregnancy
Can Drug Abuse Lead to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome?
How Do Withdrawal Symptoms Affect Pregnancy?
Over-the-Counter Medications During Pregnancy
Prenatal Marijuana Exposure
Legal Issues from Substance Abuse during Pregnancy
- Drinking Alcohol: While some research suggests that light alcohol consumption during pregnancy may not be harmful to the fetus, others suggest that even one drink per day can have a negative impact on development. Most doctors would argue that any alcohol use is likely to cause birth defects or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
- Marijuana: Doctors strongly advise against smoking marijuana during pregnancy due to findings that suggest it can negatively affect fetal growth and development, especially when combined with tobacco.
- Cocaine: Studies show that even a single use of cocaine during pregnancy has the potential to cause fetal death.
- Heroin: Studies show that heroin use during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, low birth weight, stillbirth, premature birth and infant death.
- Prescription drugs: The use of prescription drugs is often considered a medical issue, not a legal one.
How is Addiction During Pregnancy Treated
- Maternal health concerns: It’s important for expecting mothers to have regular prenatal care with a midwife or doctor to closely monitor their health and the baby’s development.
- Fetal health concerns: Fetal health can also be monitored with ultrasound and tests such as amniocentesis.
- Inpatient or outpatient treatment: Inpatient treatment is recommended for pregnant women who are experiencing severe or chronic symptoms.
- Medication: Some women may be prescribed medication to help manage withdrawal symptoms or cravings.
How Can Family Members Help?
- Express concern: Let the pregnant woman know that you’re concerned about her health and the baby’s health.
- Offer support: Offer your support and assistance to help her find treatment.
- Be understanding: Be patient and understanding while she gets the treatment she needs.
- Be prepared to leave the house: If the pregnant woman refuses treatment or is unable to care for herself or the baby, it’s best to leave the house and seek professional help.
- Be prepared to get outside help: If the pregnant woman is a danger to herself or to her unborn child, it’s important to get outside help.
- Be prepared to seek legal assistance: If the pregnant woman uses illegal drugs and is a threat to her unborn baby, it’s important to seek legal assistance.