Pregnancy should be a joyous time for you and the other members of your family. However, when your pregnancy is combined with an addiction to drugs and alcohol, it can affect not only your health but the health of your baby. If you are addicted to any kind of substance, consider talking to your doctor to find out how your baby could suffer. There are support groups in place for you to get the help that you need so that you can enjoy this time in your life.
What Should You Avoid
Some to-be mothers really enjoy a glass of wine or two at dinner or during the night. While pregnant you might be tempted to continue the habits, because after all, the consensus isn’t all there when it comes to pregnancy and alcohol consumption. But just because doctors can’t really agree just how much alcohol could cause damage to a fetus doesn’t mean you should risk it. Alcohol can cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The baby’s brain might not develop normally, or there could be issues with some of the organs of your baby. Kids Health explains that, “there is no known safe amount of alcohol to drink during pregnancy. Any amount of alcohol can harm a developing fetus and increase the risk of miscarriage.” Aside from alcohol, it’s also important to avoid cigarettes, and of course, any sort of narcotics or other drugs.
Your Own Well-Being Will Suffer
When you’re pregnant, your body needs more calories from healthy foods and beverages instead of drugs and alcohol. If you don’t get the proper nutrients that you need, then you might not gain enough weight. There is a possibility of having a miscarriage. If you want to quit though, that can sometimes prove difficult because of your environment. From Freedom Treatment Center, “in your day-to-day life, you may encounter a number of people and situations that trigger your addictive behaviors. As you struggle to overcome drug and alcohol addiction, these triggers may make it nearly impossible to quit. When addiction takes hold of your body and mind, you need a focused treatment program that allows you to recover in peace.” If you can’t control your addiction, it could put your baby’s life, and your’s at risk. Less severe, but still something to be worried about are issues with your reproductive system that could result in a hysterectomy, which means that you will no longer be able to have children.
Low Birth Weight
When you use drugs while you’re pregnant, your baby won’t get the nutrients that it needs to grow. WebMD explains, “low-birth-weight babies, premature deliveries, and babies with cleft palate are all very common with those who use tobacco, marijuana, or other drugs.” It can sometimes be difficult for your baby to gain weight in the future, especially if there are any lingering impacts from the drugs that you used while pregnant.
Aside from low birth weight and an inability to thrive, the Cerebral Palsy Group reports that if you are addicted to drugs while pregnant, you may cause serious brain damage to your baby. The brain can’t develop like it’s supposed to because of the chemicals that are in the drugs that you use. This could result in epilepsy that your baby will live with for the rest of its life or even a stroke that it can’t recover from either before delivery or after your baby is born.
If you are pregnant and addicted to something like alcohol or drugs, talk to someone who can help. Be sure to always keep your physician up-to-date during your medical appointments (which are incredibly important). It’s essential to think about the health of your baby so that your baby can be healthy whether you want to keep it or if you want to allow someone else to raise your child. Your doctor will likely know of groups that you can attend to get the support you need as well as financial support to care for your baby and yourself.