Alcohol and Drugs During Pregnancy and its Possible Effects!

If you are planning a child or probably pregnant and during your earlier days of pregnancy one concern that crosses your mind often is the habits and choices that has been guiding you in the past. Are they still holding well during the pregnancy times? Or are they too harmful for the baby? Will you be able to come back to those indulgences any sooner during after pregnancy? Well while most of your friend’s experiences would speak of occasionally getting into drinking or marijuana while still in pregnancy and being just fine with the baby, other friends might want to differ and concentrate on much safer ways of bringing the baby into the world. We tend to find a lot of studies and reports over the internet and read a lot of books to find the possible effects of them on a woman who is planning pregnancy or is probably expecting a baby now.

But before you indulge into any of the habits, to clear up your confusions and bring clarity into you, we have some questions answered for you to help you know about the alcohol and drugs intake during pregnancy, its health effects and other insights.

Can you continue with alcohol during pregnancy?

Drinking alcohol is at any time not considered during pregnancy. Even if you have been planning pregnancy, it is not a healthy option to choose drinking alcohol as you might be consuming alcohol much before knowing about your pregnancy. Your baby is tied to you through the umbilical cord and consuming alcohol would infuse alcohol into your blood which through the placenta would transfer the alcoholic contents into the umbilical cord and then to the baby.

Some women have alcohol and still give birth to a healthy baby, some women don’t consume much of it and still give birth to babies with serious disorders, and it is only wise to cut off the risk from your pregnancy. It is healthy if you don’t continue with alcohol while planning pregnancy or during the pregnancy.

What effects could alcohol have on the baby?

Any consumption by the mother will have effects on the baby as they are connected. Alcohol is harmful for the baby’s health and can be disastrous in many ways like:

  • Premature birth: Premature birth is when baby is born much before the ideal time of birth. Premature babies often face a lot of health problems throughout their life. They are slow with growth and development.
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD): indulging into drinking or binge drinking during pregnancy can cause the baby to have FASDs from birth. It is generally a condition that causes intellectual and developmental disabilities in a baby. The brain functions very slowly with FASDs and the child have trouble in learning, tune with others, communicate or take focus of work. FASDs are lifelong conditions with no treatment whatsoever.
  • Birth defects: Drinking alcohol can bring defects at birth in baby which may become impossible to treat in future. Generally the child is born with specific disorders or may face health problems, low birth weight, bad body development or body functioning.
  • Miscarriage: Drinking can result in even death of the baby before 20 weeks into the mothers womb.
  • Still birth: This is when the baby dies after 20 weeks into the mother’s womb and is known only after given birth.

Is marijuana an option during pregnancy?

Pregnancy is a tough time for the mother, with the crazy change of hormones going inside the body, morning sickness, anxiety and all the uncontrollable feelings, some women resort to smoking marijuana for an instant relief. Popular beliefs of women show that smoking marijuana helps them get relieved of sickness and makes them feel better. However with numerous tests and results found, there has been found potential harm in smoking marijuana during pregnancy, as it infuses the effects of it in the child too. There have been cases where the babies born to women smoking marijuana during pregnancy were born with serious defects like:

  • Slow brain functioning
  • Anencephaly (neural tube defect causing brain malformation)
  • Underweight at birth
  • Confused behaviors
  • Hyperactivity, inattention and impulsive

It is important to weigh the risk factors and decide if a woman wants to go for Marijuana after knowing the effects it could have to the baby. The answer is obviously No!

Can using cocaine harm your health?

Cocaine is a street drug and is a strict no-no to a pregnant woman. Cocaine causes stomach pain, nausea, shaking of the body, headaches and makes you restless. Starting taking cocaine is very easy and it is very hard to quit on it. Consuming cocaine is even not recommended for people normally, with pregnant woman it becomes a disastrous thing causing serious problems like:

  • Placenta abruption: In this condition the placenta separates itself from the baby’s body and thus stops the food and oxygen supply to the baby. Placenta abruption can cause heavy bleeding and can prove dangerous for both the baby and the mother.
  • Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS): This is a condition where the baby shows drug withdrawal symptoms and has issues eating and tasting food etc. Generally it is caused at the time of birth and continues for life.
  • Premature birth: Baby born before the ideal time
  • Underweight: This is when the baby is below 5 pounds at the time of birth
  • Miscarriage: When the baby dies as early as before 20 weeks of pregnancy

Does opiate use complicate pregnancy?

Opiates are common form of drugs that are used in treating pain. While going through routine ailments in daily schedules or finding solutions to hangover and headaches, people get involved into drugs intake in the form of medicines which cause them some sort of relief in pain. This relief sometimes becomes addiction and they want more and more of it. The concern here is that a person may not even know that they are into drugs. So while a woman is planning pregnancy or is pregnant, it becomes necessary to check on the entire medicine intake by her. Use of opiate during pregnancy can make the pregnancy high risk and the trial to leave the opiates is very hard. People trying to discontinue opiates intake start with their offensive behaviors, restlessness, vulnerable, impulsive and non tolerant. The opiate withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Low body energy
  • Abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Muscle ache and pains
  • Runny nose and tear eyes
  • Anxiety
  • Furious and vulnerable

It is essential to find the medicines and curb out from the users and especially women during their pregnancy should not use any form of un-prescribed medicines due to possible opiate inclusion in them.

How does Heroin and Methadone use effect pregnancy?

Heroin use during pregnancy brings baby to neonatal abstinence syndrome we earlier talked about in case of cocaine and opiates. NAS occurs in consumption of drugs and discharges the baby with serious ailments like birth defects, underweight, premature birth, placenta abruption etc.
If the baby has been effected of NAS due to consumption of heroin, the symptoms like the below listed with make it clear.

  • Excessive crying
  • Slow weight gaining
  • Fever
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Breathing problems
  • Even resulting death

If the symptoms are found in the mother, the treatment is done with medication. The methadone maintenance with prenatal care is undergone which is a certified drug treatment that adjusts the baby to become drug free. There is a required treatment for heroin and methadone intake in the pregnant woman to cure from possible NAS effects and so it is safe to not resort to using heroin and methadone anytime before or during pregnancy.

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