Scott & Denise
We feel so blessed to have been matched with our birthmother through ParentProfiles. After only being with the site a week, we were contacted by our birthmother. A month later our daughter was born. She has been a wonderful addition to our family and we can't imagine not having her or her birthmother as a part of our family. more ...
The combination of illegal drugs and pregnancy is becoming an all-too-common problem. As many as one in ten babies are born to women who use illegal drugs during pregnancy. With almost all of these drugs, use by the mother puts her and the baby at risk for serious, often long-term, and possibly fatal consequences.
Most illegal drugs cross the placenta, meaning they will reach the baby's developing systems. Some drugs, such as cocaine, will also damage the placenta and may cause it to pull away from the uterus, which can cause extensive bleeding and possible death for both mother and baby.
Different illegal drugs and pregnancy have varied impacts on the baby. The effect of marijuana use in pregnancy is still unclear. Some studies show that babies born to women who used marijuana tend to have a lower birthweight. Smoking either tobacco or marijuana can lead to placenta previa, premature birth, low birthweight, and an increased risk of SIDS.
Cocaine is one of the illegal drugs with documented devastating effects on the developing baby. In early months, it can cause miscarriage. Later, it can lead to premature labor. Cocaine can cause irreversible brain damage and even death. Some studies have shown that babies of mothers who quit using cocaine in the first trimester may not necessarily be born with birth defects. But they are at increased risk for cerebral palsy and abnormalities of the brain, skull, face, eyes, heart, limbs, intestines, genitals, and urinary tract. Many will go through a process similar to withdrawal after birth when illegal drugs and pregnancy are mixed.
Heroin is another of the illegal drugs and pregnancy known risks. The baby is at risk for low birthweight, may be born addicted and/or early, or may die. Once grown, these children may be small for their age, have trouble thinking clearly, and have behavioral problems. Injecting heroin puts the mother at risk for HIV, which can be passed to the baby. Pregnant women are not advised to quit heroin suddenly, as this can lead to dangerous problems for her and the baby. Most women in this situation who seek help will be placed on a controlled methadone program. There are still risks to the baby, but they are not as severe as with heroin.
Ecstasy, PCPs, LSD and amphetamines are other illegal drugs with varying impacts. With these and all legal and illegal drugs and pregnancy, the safest advice is to talk to your medical practitioner right away and follow all treatment recommendations to ensure the best outcome possible for you and your baby.