Frequently Asked Questions

Pregnant women have admission and treatment priority at treatment programs funded by the SAPT Block Grant (per 45 CFR Part 96), and Medicaid and sliding scale fees may be payment options at treatment centers.  SAPT Block Grant funded non-profit centers do not deny treatment to persons unable to pay, and sliding scale payment and Medicaid may be options for eligible clients.

Additional FAQs

Courtesy of the CDC and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

What is a “drink”? What if I only drink beer or wine coolers?

Any amount of alcohol can be harmful to an unborn child. There is no safe kind or safe amount of alcohol while you’re pregnant. If you have any questions about alcohol use during pregnancy it’s important to talk with your healthcare provider.

I drank during my last pregnancy and my baby turned out fine. Why shouldn’t I drink again during this pregnancy?

Every pregnancy is different. Alcohol may hurt one baby more than another. Just because you’ve had a child unaffected by alcohol consumption during pregnancy doesn’t mean that will always be the case. Not all children manifest signs of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, but may develop learning disabilities later in school. Often Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is misdiagnosed as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). So, it is important to stop drinking or seek treatment if you’re addicted to alcohol while you’re pregnant.

I’ve tried to stop using before, but I just couldn’t do it. Where can I get help?

If you cannot stop drinking or using, there are many places to go to seek help. No matter how many times you’ve tried before, or how far along you are in your pregnancy, there is always time to get help. Contact your medical provider, call 211, or find a treatment center in your area. If you’re pregnant, you will be considered top priority at treatment centers, meaning you should not be put on a waiting list.

Why is smoking harmful during pregnancy?

When a pregnant woman smokes tobacco or marijuana, her baby is exposed to that smoke and any chemicals in the drug. This causes less oxygen and nutrients to get to the baby, which can lead to future health problems. Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have certain problems, including:

  • ectopic pregnancy
  • vaginal bleeding
  • problems with the way the placenta attaches to the uterus
  • stillbirth
  • a low birth weight baby

And the baby itself will be at an increased risk for asthma and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). If you need help to quit smoking, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

What effect does drinking alcohol while pregnant have on the fetus?

When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, it enters her bloodstream and reaches the fetus through the umbilical cord. The same amount of alcohol that is in the woman’s blood is in the baby’s blood. In an adult, the liver breaks down the alcohol, but a baby’s liver is not yet able to do this, so alcohol is much more harmful to a fetus than to an adult. The more a pregnant woman drinks, the greater the danger is for her baby. Drinking during pregnancy may result in your baby developing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FAS), a form of brain damage for which there is no cure.

How do drugs used during pregnancy reach the baby?

Most drugs reach the fetus by crossing the placenta, which provides nourishment to the fetus. If you use drugs after your baby is born, they can be passed to him/her through your breast milk. You can learn more about Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) on the Medline Plus website.

What are examples of drugs that can be harmful during pregnancy?

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Methamphetamine
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco and Nicotine
  • Inhalants (for example, spray paints, paint thinners, gasoline, glues, and gases)
  • MDMA, “Molly,” and Ecstasy
  • Non-medical use of prescription or over-the-counter medications

Remember, there is no safe level of use of any of these substances during pregnancy.

What pregnancy risks are associated with medications?

Over-the-counter and prescription medications can also enter your baby’s blood stream, causing birth defects, addiction or other health and mental problems, including Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.

Some medications that are prescribed by your doctor and taken at the prescribed dosage are safe to take during pregnancy. So it is important to talk to your healthcare provider before taking or stopping any medications. And, if you believe you may be addicted to prescription medication, seek treatment immediately, as prescription medications can be harmful to you and your baby.

You can find more information about medications in pregnancy from the CDC below:

What is addiction?

People with an addiction have intense cravings for drugs or alcohol. Usually they can’t quit by themselves and treatment is needed to overcome the addiction. Treatment programs can provide emotional support as well as medical care. If you need help, call 211, talk to your healthcare provider, or find a treatment center near you.

How can I get help if I am using alcohol or drugs?

If you need help, call 211, talk to your healthcare provider, or find a treatment center near you. Remember, it’s never too late to get help if you’re pregnant and using.

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