25 Mar Drug Use During Pregnancy
All types of drug abuse have serious health risks associated with them, but these risks are compounded when drugs are used during pregnancy. Even sporadic or one-time drug use during pregnancy can harm the fetus and put their life and their mother’s in danger. There is no safe level of drug use during pregnancy and this includes drinking alcohol.
There are many different types of drugs, both legal and illicit, but they have many similar effects on an unborn baby. Use of illegal drugs, alcohol, or tobacco can cause a whole range of problems during pregnancy including premature birth, low birth weight, miscarriage, physical deformities, developmental delays, and learning disabilities. This is because most drugs that are able to pass into the bloodstream and provide the user with a buzz or a high are also able to easily pass through the placenta and affect the baby. Even drugs prescribed by a doctor can have a negative effect on an unborn baby and should not be used in any other way than what was prescribed by a doctor who is aware that you are pregnant.
There are a few drugs that have an uncommon effect on an unborn baby that require special treatment above and beyond what is used when the baby is exposed to other drugs. Heroin is one of the drugs requiring special treatment, because quitting cold turkey can have a harmful effect on the baby, just like continued use could. A healthcare provider will usually employ a regimen of suboxone or other prescription drug to help reduce withdrawal symptoms and allow both mother and baby to slowly wean off the drug.
Alcohol is another special case. It has been shown to limit a child’s physical and mental potential irreversibly when used during pregnancy. For this reason, alcohol should be avoided during pregnancy.
If a woman who is using any kind of drugs finds that she is pregnant, it is important that she goes to her health care provider immediately and tells them honestly the risks her baby has been exposed to. This is the only way a doctor can recommend a treatment program that will be as safe as possible for both the baby and the mother. Trying to quit on her own is not a good option for a woman who is pregnant because the withdrawal symptoms can cause damage to the baby, just like the drug use can. A treatment program can help reduce withdrawal symptoms and give the mother and baby the best chance at a healthy birth and a healthy life afterwards.