It is not as uncommon for pregnant women to use illegal drugs as you would think. At least 4 percent of pregnant women in the United States use a drug like marijuana or cocaine. Even more, women consistently use alcohol or tobacco while pregnant as well, which is legal.
All of these things when used while pregnant can harm the unborn baby. Abusing these substances can hurt the child throughout their life.
Effects On The Mother
The use of drugs by pregnant women might be to handle their aches and pains. Drugs or alcohol can sometimes provide relief to issues like being sore or having trouble sleeping or being awake. They can also cause serious health effects.
– Bloodborne infections
– Heart attacks
– Sexually transmitted diseases
All of these problems can also affect the child in the womb. This is because the child and mother are connected with the umbilical cord.
Effects On The Baby
Babies often become addicted to the same substance their mothers are abusing while pregnant. Though it is considered more of a physical dependence at that stage. When a baby is born physically dependent on drugs or alcohol they have neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).
Neonatal abstinence syndrome means the baby could have colic, eating problems, tremors, and poor coordination. This happens to babies who are born to mothers who were abusing heroin, marijuana, cocaine, and other drugs.
When babies become addicted to the drugs their mother was taking while pregnant they can experience withdrawal for four to six months after being born. This can cause high blood pressure, heart problems, and seizures.
Drugs are dangerous for babies, even those who might not cause symptoms of withdrawal. Cocaine can cause these problems:
– The detachment of the placenta
– Growth defects
– Intellectual difficulties
– Premature birth
– Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
All drugs can cause issues to an unborn baby, not just the obviously dangerous ones. Nicotine can actually cause carbon monoxide poisoning to the baby from smoking cigarettes. It can also affect how much oxygen the fetus is able to get when the mother is smoking.
Alcohol is also something that pregnant women use when they shouldn’t because it is not safe. It can cause developmental delays and health problems in babies, and those problems don’t always go away when a child grows older.
Hope For Mothers
Of course, drug use while being pregnant is unsafe, but if the mother stops using in the first trimester, there is a good chance that no long term damage was done. Pregnancy can also cause women who suffer from addiction to finally have a good enough reason to get help.
Women who are addicted while pregnant might be able to find a community that helps them along. That way they can get the treatment and support they need for the health of their baby.