Dealing with drug or alcohol use during pregnancy is extremely difficult, and it helps to understand how tobacco, alcohol and drugs affect your unborn child.
When harmful substances, like drugs or alcohol, are ingested they enter the mother’s bloodstream and pass through the placenta and umbilical cord to the baby. Even if you only ingest a small amount of drugs or alcohol, it will stay in the baby’s system long after it leaves yours.
If a woman inhales tobacco or other drugs (like marijuana) while she is pregnant, the baby is exposed to all of the smoke and any chemicals in the drug. This restricts the oxygen and nutrients that reach the baby and can cause serious harm.
Babies that are exposed to any amount – large or small – of tobacco, alcohol or drugs can have a variety of health and mental issues before or after they’re born. But there is one thing every expectant mother suffering from addiction can do: get help.
No matter how far along in your pregnancy you are, it’s never too late to get help. With the right care, your baby can be saved from being born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, going through painful abstinence symptoms or other health problems including Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Remember, there is no safe level of drugs or alcohol to take during pregnancy.
Pregnant women who are using drugs or alcohol should not quit cold turkey, as it could be dangerous for both the mother and baby. Instead, you should seek professional help from your medical provider or a treatment center. Call 211 or look for a treatment center in your area here.