are a lot of resources on the internet, in books, and from
the medical community on the dangers of drug and alcohol use
during pregnancy. However, there is not very much quality
information on what you should do if you have a problem with
alcohol or drugs and are pregnant. The simple answer is you
need to quit. With all the treatment programs available; AA,
treatment facilities, therapy, self-control, etc., why wouldn't
a women be able to get help?
would anyone use drugs or alcohol while they are pregnant?
Most pregnant moms know or have read that using drugs or alcohol
can cause numerous problems for their unborn baby. But there
are many reasons women avoid treatment.
Some do not believe they are really an addict or alcoholic.
They may convince themselves that they don't drink or use
very much or that often. The truth, if you are not capable
of quitting during a time in your life when it is most essential
that you do not drink or use, you are an addict. If you were
not addicted quitting during pregnancy would not be difficult.
Many women falsely believe that an occasional drink or drug
use is not really harmful. They may minimize their problem
and rationalize what they are doing. They may say things like
well when my mother was pregnant she drank/smoke and I turned
Sometimes a woman may convince herself that she is done and
it won't happen again. Perhaps she has used during the first
month but she will tell herself, I will get help if I do this
again. With the next time it happening repeating the same
rational in her mind, each time thinking it is the last.
Addiction is a shameful disease. Addicts come in all forms.
People with addiction can hide their disease very well. Their
friends and family may not even realize that they have a problem.
Talking to a health professional about this may be something
they are too afraid to do.
They may be afraid to talk to a professional for fear of having
an investigation by Child Protective services.
Marijuana supporters put out a lot of false information about
the risks to an unborn child. Minimizing the dangers, even
going as far as to say babies born to marijuana users are
less fussy and more content. They may choose to believe this
misinformation in order to avoid facing their addiction.
Risks of using drugs and alcohol during pregnancy
Babies are more likely to be born preterm and with low birth
Can cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Babies born with FAS may
have symptoms of alcohol withdrawal shortly after birth. They
often have a small head, small eyes, a wide flat nose, and
a small jaw. Children with FAS may have growth problems, diminished
mental capacity, and emotional problems.
Can cause preterm birth, low birth weight and some studies
say it can cause attention problems in children.
Babies born to cocaine users often go through withdrawal symptoms
after birth. Fetal growth may be retarded, there is a greater
risk of premature
labor and abruption of the placenta. Babies often have
low birth weight, may have feeding problems, and are at greater
risk of sids. Children of cocaine addicted mothers may have
emotional problems, short attention span, and learning disabilities.
Heroin and other narcotics:
Mother is at a greater risk of having preterm labor and having
a baby with low birth weight. Babies of heroin addicted moms
may have breathing difficulties, hypoglycemia, and intracranial
hemorrhage. They also will go through withdrawal after birth.
If you need help
If you think that you have a problem there are places to get
help. Please do not wait.
One of the best places to get help is at
Acoholic Anonymous www.aa.org
Or you can look in your phone book under alcoholic anonymous.
Someone there will gladly help you find meeting locations
and someone to talk to.
March of Dimes
American Council for Drug Education