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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Drug abuse and addiction can include people from all ages and walks of life. That includes pregnant women.  When women are pregnant, they’re “eating for two.” It also includes any substances they intake. It’s important for pregnant women to keep in mind that when they use alcohol or illegal drug, their unborn baby is doing the same thing.

Besides taking illegal drugs, it’s also advisable not to drink or smoke. For example, when pregnant women smoke they pass on nicotine and carcinogens to their baby. It can also prevent the baby from getting the nutrients they need to healthy development. It’s also important to avoid alcohol when pregnant. There’s no safe amount of alcohol known for pregnant women. Alcohol can result in long-term physical/behavioral issues in children.

It’s also important for pregnant women to avoid using illegal drugs. It can result in problems including the following:

  1. Birth defects

It’s important that sometimes congenital disabilities can happen regardless of medication/drug use. However, it’s still important for pregnant women to avoid illegal drugs, alcohol, and smoking before giving birth. There are several types of drugs that can result in congenital disabilities including the following:

  • ACE inhibitors
  • Alcohol
  • Angiotensin II antagonist
  • Antibiotics (some)
  • Anti-cancer meds (some)
  • Anti-convulsant meds (some)
  • Cocaine
  • Diethylstilbestrol (hormone)
  • Isotretinoin
  • Lithium
  • Male hormones
  • Rheumatism meds (some)
  • Thalidomide
  • Thyroid meds (some)
  • Vitamin A (high dose)
  • Warfarin

It is a long list, but it’s not a comprehensive list. For example, it’s unclear if drugs like marijuana and amphetamines also cause congenital disabilities. It’s important to consult a doctor about such substances since not all meds in some drug classes cause congenital disabilities in babies.

There’s the issue that some women are required to take medications while they’re pregnant. The figure is about 8% of women and includes women who have an existing health issue. They include conditions like high blood pressure, asthma, thyroid conditions, diabetes, and epilepsy. These conditions must be managed with pharmaceutical drugs. Other women have temporary illnesses like pneumonia or pregnancy problems that also make medications necessary.

In these situations can be dangerous for pregnant women not to take their regular medications or ones for short-term health conditions. That said, in the case of illegal drugs it’s highly recommended that they stop them as soon as possible as it can cause health complications for themselves and their babies.

It’s important to note that certain drugs have a higher likelihood of causing NASA than other drugs. However, almost all of them have some effect on the baby. For example, heroin and other opiates cause withdrawal in over 50% of babies who are exposed prenatally to the drugs.  The effects of cocaine are mostly related to the toxicity of the drug itself, but it can also result in some withdrawal. There are also NAS effects resulting from alcoholic drinks and cigarettes’ nicotine.

It’s important to keep in mind that NAS is a serious issue. When a mother uses illicit substances like cocaine, heroin, or meth, she increases several risk factors related to her baby. Another factor is women who use drugs are more likely than men to use 2+ drugs. It can increase the risk factor and make it tougher to treat the pregnant mother.

  1. Under-weight babies

It is another possible result when a pregnant mother is abusing drugs during her pregnancy. It involves babies who are born under 5 pounds, 8 ounces (2.5 kg). The average birth weight of newborns is about 8 pounds (3.6 kg).

Low birth weight is somewhat common in newborns. For example, 8% of all newborns in the US have a low birth weight. Also, the percentage is increasing. It is mostly due to over 50% of multiple-birth infants who have low birthweight compared to just 6% among single-birth babies.

Babies with a low birth rate also look smaller than babies born at regular weights. For example, the head might look a little larger than the rest of the newborn’s body. The infant might also look thing and have just a small amount of body fat.

What causes low birth rate? The main cause is a premature birth that happens before 37 weeks of gestation. When the baby is born early, he/she has less time in the uterus of the mother to grow/gain weight. A large percentage of the baby’s weight is put on during the late stages of pregnancy.

The second cause of low birth-weight among newborns is due to intrauterine growth restriction (UGR). It happens when the baby doesn’t grow well during the mother’s pregnancy due to factors like the mother’s health, placenta issues or baby’s condition. When a baby is born at full term, they might look physically mature but also be weaker than normal. Meanwhile, premature infants with UGR are small and immature.

When a baby is born prematurely, they’re more likely than those born full-term to be smaller. Several risks are being related to low birth weight. It’s a good idea to research these factors to determine whether or not your infant is more likely to have a low birth weight. However, it’s also important to avoid illegal drugs if you’re pregnant and if you’re using them, you should consider stopping the activity immediately.

  1. Withdrawal symptoms after birth

Another possible problem related to a pregnant mother using drugs is something called neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). This term refers to a group of problems newborn experiences when they’re withdrawing from narcotics exposure. If the pregnant mother is using illegal drugs, it’s important to note that this could be one of the results.

Nearly all drugs that a pregnant mother is using transmit from her bloodstream via the placenta to the fetus. That includes alcohol and cigarettes.  Similarly, illicit substances that produce drug dependence/addiction in the pregnant mother can also result in the fetus being addicted to the drug. As a result, the baby’s addiction continues after birth. It becomes a problem since the drug isn’t available to the baby anymore. The result is the baby’s nervous system gets overstimulated, which results in withdrawal symptoms.

If a pregnant woman is doing drugs, drinking, or smoking, it’s important to get professional help as soon as possible. It will help to provide quality help that can help quit the habit. It will also help to improve the overall health of the mother and baby.


The scientific world’s knowledge about prenatal care has increased significantly over the years. About 80 years ago two-thirds of US women gave birth at home. The process usually included a family doctor instead of midwives and nurses. It was a sign of modern obstetrics, and soon the majority of births happened in hospitals instead of homes. During this time the use of painkillers during childbirth was a controversial issue and was a new treatment.

The child-birthing process changed greatly in the next decades. For example, hospital childbirths became the standard during the 1950s and pain was lowered by anesthesia. Women also started returning to breastfeeding instead of using “modern” formula. Medical experts discovered that it was a better option regarding digestion and temperature.

An irony is that during this time there was a shift from hospital-focused prenatal care to more natural childbirths. Today there‘s still some debate about whether drugs like anesthesia should be used during the birthing process. However, research shows that nearly all drugs the mother takes during pre-natal care will be transmitted to their babies. It is why it’s critical for mothers to avoid using alcohol, cigarettes, and illegal drugs while pregnant. It will give the babies a better chance of being born healthy.


Here are some of the symptoms of pregnant mothers who are abusing drugs:

  • Strong urges for a drug
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Fewer social, recreational activities
  • Needing more of the same drug
  • More time/energy on getting/using drugs
  • Failing to stop using a drug
  • Risky activities
  • Illegal activities like stealing
  • Not meeting work responsibilities
  • Spending all money on drugs
  • Feelings one must use a drug regularly


  1. Medications

Prescription drugs should only be used by pregnant mothers when they have pre-existing conditions or experience short-term issues like pneumonia. It’s better to take a holistic/natural approach to treating pregnant women with drug addiction.

  1. Detox

It is one of the most important types of treatment for pregnant women. It is needed to remove all unhealthy chemicals found in alcohol, cigarettes, and illegal drugs. It is important for the safety of both the mother and her unborn baby. The type of detox used is based on various factors. That includes the type of substance used, the level of abuse, and the health/psychiatric history of the mother.

There are various methods used in the detox process. They include reducing the amount of the drug the mother is taking and possibly substituting the drug with a less powerful one to help prevent withdrawal symptoms.

  1. Accommodations

It’s important for a pregnant woman to have special accommodations when being treated for drug abuse/addiction. As of 2010 only about two-fifths of US states had drug treatment programs designed for pregnant women.  Studies show that it’s better for pregnant women to have special treatment centers when getting treatment for drug addiction based on their situation.

  1. Risks/Complications

There are some risks involved in detox for pregnant women. A medical professional can help to determine what’s the best option for the pregnant woman. It will help to produce the most effective and safest option.

Drug Abuse

A common belief is that damage has always happened when a woman abuses alcohol/drugs during the first trimester of her pregnancy. However, no scientific evidence supports that idea. Studies show that even when the mother stops using drafters after the first trimester, it can help the baby to avoid possible complications.

Besides stopping the drug use, it’s also helpful if the mother is getting good nutrition and prenatal care. It can allow the fetus to catch up regarding growth/development. What’s critical is for the rehab/recovery process to start as soon as possible. That will give the mother and baby the best chance of having a full recovery.

It’s important to get good advice when a pregnant mother is seeking a rehab center. There are several reasons. For example, many pregnant mothers are concerned about issues like fear of judgment from medical professionals, law enforcement, and living sober. It highlights the importance of picking the best rehab center to provide the best advice and service for dealing with the substance addiction.

One of the most important steps in the process is to recognize the signs of drug addiction in your pregnant friends/family. That will help you to take the right steps if there’s a good chance they’re dealing with drug abuse. The situation can be even tougher when a pregnant mother is possibly affecting the health of her baby through her drug use.

Drug Rehab/Recovery

A pregnant mother who is dealing with drug addiction/abuse should consider rehab/recovery as soon as possible. The right care can help the baby to be born as healthy as possible. There are various rehab centers, so it’s important to shop around to find the best one. In particular, you should look for a center that has a program specifically designed for pregnant women. It will help to provide the best care since it will deal with the particular cases that pregnant women must deal with.

Make sure that a rehab center is also a good option regarding various legitimacy issues. It should be fully registered, licensed, and insured. It will help to make sure you’re dealing with a center that’s 100% legit. You should also look for a center that can offer the specific services you need based on your particular situation. It’s also a good idea to read some reviews/testimonials to find out the consensus among industry professionals or past customers. That will help to make sure you’re picking a rehab center that’s received mostly positive marks from customers.