It is very important to watch the contents that you put into your body, but even more important once you become pregnant. Studies have shown that once a woman uses drugs during pregnancy, she becomes a higher risk for a miscarriage, premature labor, fetal death and even maternal death. Some common drugs and their harmful effects are listed below:
- What happens when a pregnant woman smokes marijuana? Marijuana crosses the placenta to your baby. Marijuana, like cigarette smoke, contains toxins that keep your baby from getting the proper supply of oxygen that he or she needs to grow.
- How can marijuana affect the baby? Studies of marijuana in pregnancy are inconclusive because many women who smoke marijuana also use tobacco and alcohol. Smoking marijuana increases the levels of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide in the blood, which reduces the oxygen supply to the baby. Smoking marijuana during pregnancy can increase the chance of miscarriage, low birth weight, premature births, developmental delays, and behavioral and learning problems.
- What happens when a pregnant woman consumes cocaine? Cocaine crosses the placenta and enters your baby’s circulation. The elimination of cocaine is slower in a fetus than in an adult. This means that cocaine remains in the baby’s body much longer than it does in your body.
- How can cocaine affect my baby? According to the Organization of Teratology Information Services (OTIS), during the early months of pregnancy cocaine exposure may increase the risk of miscarriage. Later in pregnancy, cocaine use can cause placental abruption, which can lead to severe bleeding, preterm birth, and fetal death. OTIS also states that the risk of birth defects appears to be greater when the mother has used cocaine frequently during pregnancy. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecology (ACOG), women who use cocaine during their pregnancy have a 25 % increased chance of premature labor. Babies born to mothers who use cocaine throughout their pregnancy may also have a smaller head and be growth restricted. Babies who are exposed to cocaine later in pregnancy may be born dependent and suffer from withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, sleeplessness, muscle spasms, and feeding difficulties. Some experts believe that learning difficulties may result as the child gets older. Defects of the genitals, kidneys, and brain are also possible.
- What happens when a pregnant woman uses heroin? Heroin is a very addictive drug that crosses the placenta to the baby. Because this drug is so addictive, the unborn baby can become dependent on the drug.
- How can heroin affect my baby? Using heroin during pregnancy increases the chance of premature birth, low birth weight, breathing difficulties, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), bleeding within the brain (intracranial hemorrhage), and infant death. Babies can also be born addicted to heroin and can suffer from withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms include irritability, convulsions, diarrhea, fever, sleep abnormalities, and joint stiffness. Mothers who inject narcotics are more susceptible to HIV, which can be passed to their unborn children.
- What happens when a pregnant woman takes methamphetamine? Methamphetamine is chemically related to amphetamine, which causes the heart rate of the mother and baby to increase.
- How can methamphetamine affect my baby: Taking methamphetamine during pregnancy can result in problems similar to those seen with the use of cocaine in pregnancy. The use of speed can cause the baby to get less oxygen, which can lead to low birth weight. Methamphetamine can also increase the likelihood of premature labor, miscarriage, and placental abruption. Babies can be born addicted to methamphetamine and suffer withdrawal symptoms that include tremors, sleeplessness, muscle spasms, and feeding difficulties. Some experts believe that learning difficulties may result as the child gets older.
If you, or someone you know, would like to know more about how drug usage can affect a pregnant woman or their unborn child, please give Accredited Drug Testing a call at 800-221-4291