Taking drugs harms your brain, your body, and your spirit — and it also damages an unborn baby. Although the strong negative correlation between drug abuse and expectant mothers has been clear for decades, our youngest pregnant moms aren’t getting the message.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse tracked substance abuse rates among pregnant women between the ages of 15 and 44 for the one-year period ending in 2009. The study found that teenagers between the ages of 15 and 17 were far more likely than their older counterparts to binge on alcohol or take any illicit substance — they were also extremely likely to smoke cigarettes. The next most likely group to engage in risky behavior? Eighteen to 25-year-olds, who were the most likely of all to smoke cigarettes.
The medical community has long warned women about the dangers of drinking, taking drugs, and smoking cigarettes while pregnant. Babies born to methamphetamine-addicted mothers have smaller brains than their non-addicted counterparts. Infants born to heroin-addicted mothers demonstrate withdrawal symptoms. From marijuana and alcohol to cocaine, fetal exposure is harmful — and it frequently indicates that there are, and will be, other problems as well.
The Effects of Smoking
Smoking may be a legal activity, but it is still one of the greatest dangers facing an unborn baby. Nicotine increases the risk of infant death, stillbirth, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), early labor, low birth weight, and developmental delays. Just as with drugs and alcohol, the more an expectant mother smokes, the higher the risk of medical problems for the fetus. NIDA indicates that even secondhand smoke causes unwanted effects, including premature birth and SIDS.
The Effects of Alcohol
Alcohol is extremely dangerous for an unborn baby and is associated with a huge range of negative outcomes. Problems with growth, sight and hearing, paying attention, learning, and controlling behavior are common in a baby born to a mother who drank during pregnancy. Even the simplest of actions — such as sleeping and eating — can be difficult for these newborns. Some who are born to alcohol-addicted mothers need extra help in school or require extra medical care for their entire lives.
The Effects of Illegal Drugs
The effects on a developing fetus from exposure to illegal drugs such as cocaine and marijuana can also be serious and typically worsen depending on the severity of abuse. Just as with alcohol, drug-affected babies suffer from attention and learning problems as well as growth problems, low birth weight, and behavior issues. They also suffer serious withdrawal symptoms during their first few days after birth.
Drinking, smoking, and doing drugs causes serious harm to a developing fetus, but with treatment, help is available — for you and your baby. Don’t risk losing your baby because of addiction.
Posted on July 17th, 2014 in Blog