25 July 2022

Is it Safe to Use Drugs During Pregnancy?

Submitted by Josh Maraney
Is it Safe to Use Drugs During Pregnancy?

It’s an accepted fact that drug use can be dangerous to your health, whether you’re an adult or a teenager. However, what most people don’t realise is that using drugs while pregnant can also endanger the life of your baby. The fact that your body goes through many changes during pregnancy means that drug use can cause even more damage to you and your unborn child than it would have before you were pregnant. Is it safe to use drugs during pregnancy? While there are some options, the answer isn’t black and white.

Why is Drug Use During Pregnancy Dangerous?

Drug use during pregnancy is dangerous because it can lead to birth defects, low birth weight, preterm labour, and stillbirth. Additionally, drugs can cross the placenta and affect the developing baby. If you are pregnant and using drugs, it is important to talk to your doctor about getting help to quit.

Medical experts recommend that pregnant women should not use drugs, including heroin and cocaine. The risks to your unborn baby are too great and outweigh any benefits you might experience from using drugs. Babies born to mothers who used illegal substances during pregnancy can have low birth weight or developmental problems.

Drug use during pregnancy can also lead to serious complications, including premature birth and foetal death. Babies born from mothers who used illegal drugs during pregnancy are more likely to be addicted in later life, as well as have mental health problems. This means drug use during pregnancy can lead to serious lifelong problems for your child and your family.

The risk of premature birth is increased when drugs are used during pregnancy. Premature birth is associated with many long-term problems for your baby, including breathing and digestive issues, intellectual disability, and physical problems such as cerebral palsy. These risks continue as your child grows up; premature babies have more than twice as many hospital admissions in childhood compared to full-term babies.

Alcohol and Cocaine During Pregnancy

Alcohol is a known teratogen, meaning it can cause birth defects. There is no safe level of alcohol use during pregnancy, so it’s best to abstain from alcohol altogether while pregnant. Cocaine use during pregnancy can also lead to miscarriage, placental abruption and preterm labour. In addition, cocaine use can result in babies being born with low birth weight, small head circumference and other problems.

Marijuana During Pregnancy

Some studies suggest that there may be potential risks associated with marijuana use during pregnancy, including low birth weight and developmental issues. However, more research is needed to confirm these effects. Additionally, marijuana use can result in impaired judgment and motor skills, which can be dangerous for both the mother and child. 

Heroin Use During Pregnancy

According to the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, using heroin during pregnancy can cause several problems for both the mother and the child. These include an increased risk of miscarriage, preterm labour, placental abruption and neonatal abstinence syndrome. Additionally, babies born to mothers who used heroin during pregnancy are more likely to have birth defects and developmental delays.

Benzodiazepines and Other Drugs During Pregnancy

Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs typically used to treat anxiety and insomnia. These drugs can be dangerous when used during pregnancy, as they can increase the risk of birth defects and other problems for the developing baby. Some studies have also linked benzodiazepine use during pregnancy with an increased risk of childhood cancer. 

Other drugs may also be harmful during pregnancy. Opioids and opioid-like pain relievers, such as codeine, can cause miscarriages or early labour when used during pregnancy. However, women who experience chronic pain during pregnancy have often been prescribed these medications. While there is not enough research to say for sure whether other opioid-based drugs are safe for use during pregnancy, it’s best to avoid them if possible. Other drugs that may be harmful during pregnancy include amphetamines, anti-anxiety medications and sedatives. Even cannabis—which many people think is harmless—can cause problems during pregnancy. 

Are Prescription Medications Safe During Pregnancy?

Many pregnant women take prescription medications during pregnancy. In general, it is best to avoid taking medication during pregnancy unless it is necessary. Some medications can be harmful to a developing baby. If you are pregnant and considering taking medication, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits.

Opioid pain relievers, such as oxycodone and morphine, are frequently prescribed during pregnancy. These medications are commonly used to treat back pain and arthritis. The effects of opioids on a foetus during pregnancy are unclear; however, these drugs can pass through a mother’s bloodstream and into her milk.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends against using opioids during pregnancy for non-medical reasons. If you do use these medications, use them only as directed by your healthcare provider. Take smaller doses at less frequent intervals than prescribed or in higher amounts than recommended. Store all medications out of reach and sight of children. Opioids are extremely dangerous in large doses and can cause a baby to stop breathing at birth, even if he or she is born in a hospital setting. Babies may also experience withdrawal symptoms after they are born if they have been exposed to opioids while in utero. 

Overall Risks to You, Your Baby, and the Foetus

The use of drugs during pregnancy can be extremely dangerous to both the mother and the child. Substance abuse can lead to several health problems, including birth defects, developmental delays and even stillbirth. In some cases, drug use during pregnancy can also result in neonatal abstinence syndrome, a condition in which the baby is born addicted to drugs. 

Substance abuse can have adverse effects on a developing foetus in many ways. For example, alcohol use during pregnancy has been linked to miscarriage, low birth weight, and developmental disorders. Opiates such as heroin, opioids like OxyContin and Vicodin, and methamphetamines like crystal meth all carry high risks for babies during their prenatal development because these drugs are excreted into breast milk.

Additionally, women with cocaine use disorder are at an increased risk of premature birth and having a low-birth-weight baby. Cocaine can also cross over into a pregnant woman’s breast milk, leading to development problems in her child. In some cases, prenatal exposure to cocaine may even lead to foetal death. Overall risks to you, your baby, and the foetus 

No matter what type of drug you’re using, all of these substances pass through your bloodstream and are taken up by your placenta. This leads to them passing on to your baby’s body through their blood vessels. Essentially, a foetus is in an environment where it can be exposed to drugs at any time throughout pregnancy. 

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Located just outside Johannesburg, Freeman House Recovery is a safe and secure place for people who are struggling with addiction. Our team of experts will ensure you are taken care of. We provide our clients with the guidance they need to lead healthy lives in recovery. Freeman House offers a sober living environment so recovering addicts can learn how to live without drugs or alcohol on their own. Do not hesitate, to call today and ask about our special treatment programme. Addiction does not discriminate!

This article was first published at https://www.freemanhouserecovery.com/is-it-safe-to-use-drugs-during-pregnancy/

Published in Health and Medicine

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