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The Effect of Drug Abuse During Pregnancy

The Effect of Drug Abuse During Pregnancy

If you're pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant and want a healthy baby, then it's very important to avoid drug use during pregnancy.

Drug addiction is a common problem around the world. This problem becomes particularly complicated in women taking these substances during their pregnancy, when the drugs might have damaging effects on the mother along with the fetus.

Because many pregnant women who use illicit drugs also use alcohol and tobacco, which also pose risks to unborn babies, many times, it is difficult to determine which health problems come from a specific illicit drug. Additionally, illicit drugs might be prepared with impurities which may be harmful to a pregnancy.

Consumption of illegal drugs isn’t safe for the unborn baby or for the mother. Studies have shown that consumption of illegal drugs during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, low birth weight, premature labor, placental abruption, fetal death, as well as maternal death. The following information will help you understand these drugs and their effects.


Cannabis is often used together with tobacco, which may result in a reduction in birth weight and boosts the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (cot death). There isn’t any evidence of a direct effect on pregnancy outcome from cannabis itself.


Smoking can also be associated with adverse events during pregnancy. You can get miscarriage, preterm labor or stillbirth. Babies will also be likely to be smaller in size. They might suffer from birth defects like cleft lip and cleft palate.


Low levels of alcohol consumption during pregnancy may seem harmless, but safe levels can’t be precisely identified. At higher levels, alcohol causes decrease in birth weight, while amongst women who drink heavily in pregnancy a little number deliver babies using the combination of effects known as ‘Foetal Alcohol Syndrome’. These functions include low birth weight with decrease in all parameters of growth, and central nervous dysfunction, including learning disabilities and characteristic facial abnormalities.

Amphetamines and Ecstasy

There isn’t any evidence that use of either amphetamines or ecstasy directly affects pregnancy outcomes, however, there may be indirect effects because of associated problems. They do not cause withdrawal symptoms within the new-born baby.


Maternal use of tobacco and alcohol might have significant harmful effects on pregnancy. Tobacco leads to a reduction in birth weight greater than that from heroin, and it is a major risk for cot deaths. Babies of women who smoke heavily during pregnancy could also exhibit signs of withdrawal, with ‘jitteriness’ within the neo-natal period.

Drug Abuse During Pregnancy

Drug Abuse During Pregnancy


Cocaine is a powerful constrictor of blood vessels. This effect is reported to improve the risk of adverse outcomes to pregnancy, e.g. placental separation, reduced brain growth, under-development of organs and/or limbs, and foetal death in utero. It appears adverse outcomes are largely related to heavy problematic use, instead of with recreational use. Despite frequent reports to the contrary, cocaine use during pregnancy does not cause withdrawal symptoms within the new-born baby

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