How Drugs Can Harm an Unborn Baby – Get a Drug Education

Are you pregnant? If so, are you or someone you know, using drugs? Drug use is risky anytime but using drugs while pregnant can permanently damage the fetus. If you or someone you know is pregnant and suffering from drug abuse, then it's extremely important to get professional help immediately. After all, you wouldn't want to harm your baby.

The Dangers

The consequences of drug use on an unborn fetus are life threatening. Every drug affects each person differently and no one can predict how a drug will affect you and your unborn baby. It depends on what drugs are taken, how much, how often, and how your body processes it. Being pregnant takes a lot out of your body- but adding drug use too, will compromise your immune system and overall health.

Here are some general guidelines to follow but it's impossible to know how any drug will affect your pregnancy.

Drugs and How they Impact Pregnancy:

  • Marijuana

Smoking marijuana will increase the levels of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide in the blood, which reduces the oxygen supply to the baby. A lack of oxygen can affect the fetus in many ways including causing trauma to the developing brain.

Smoking marijuana while pregnant increases the risk of a miscarriage and can lower the baby's birth weight. Babies whose mother's smoked marijuana can have developmental delays.

  • Cocaine

Using cocaine while pregnant highly increases the risk of a miscarriage. Cocaine can also cause: placental abruption causing extensive bleeding which can be lethal for both the mother and baby, premature labor and birth, and low birth weight. Babies who are born to mothers who used cocaine frequently throughout their pregnancy also run the risk of being born with smaller heads (and brains) and other lifelong disabilities including mental retardation, cerebral palsy, visual and hearing impairment. Cocaine exposed babies can have a stroke, which can result in irreversible brain damage or die.

  • Heroin

Babies who are exposed to heroin pre-birth can be born addicted. Mothers who are addicted can have Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) which occurs when heroin passes through the mother's placenta to the fetus during pregnancy, causing the baby to become dependent along with the mother. Symptoms include excessive crying, fever, irritability, seizures, slow weight gain, tremors, diarrhea, vomiting, and possibly death. NAS requires hospitalization and treatment with medication (often morphine) to relieve symptoms.

Other problems for Heroin dependent pregnant women and unborn babies are: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), premature birth, low blood sugar, and low birth weight, bleeding within the brain, and major birth defects.

Seek Assistance

It doesn't matter what kind of drug you're addicted to — if you find yourself pregnant, then you must quit using immediately. Seek professional help and do not be ashamed. Get to a hospital to detox with medical assistance. Protect yourself, your unborn baby and your future.