The dangers of drug use during pregnancy are highly pertinent and vital for our world. November is Child Safety Month, which focuses on the 8.7 million visits to the emergency room for children, and 14,000 children and adolescent deaths a year in the U.S. Child safety is of utmost concern from the time of conception. Focusing on the dangers of drug use during pregnancy during this particular month may help someone address their addiction. Addiction can hold a pregnant mother hostage. The desire to use is ever-present, but so is the life within. The constant guilt and shame experienced during this time only spurred more drug use to cope with these extreme emotions. The dangers of drug use during pregnancy can also include smoking cigarettes, excessive caffeine consumption, and over-the-counter medications.
The Dangers of Drug Use During Pregnancy
The dangers of drug use during pregnancy begin early, considering the brain and spinal cord structures are apparent only ten weeks after conception. Rapidly growing fetuses are under threat from their mothers’ addictions interfering with normal development. The disruption in brain development affects physical growth, future behavior, thinking processes, intelligence, and language abilities. In addition, addiction during pregnancy can cause the baby to be addicted, which is a sad situation.
The Dangers of Alcohol Use During Pregnancy
Alcohol consumption can increase the risk of miscarriage, newborn death, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), and stillbirth. Those facts alone expound the dangers of drug use during pregnancy. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome research has found these children may have low birth weights, which is a problem with infant viability. FAS infants can experience defects in the heart and face and learning, cognitive and mental dysfunctions. No proven statistics on the amount of alcohol consumed will affect the fetus, so even one drink could have a negative effect.
Marijuana Dangers During Pregnancy
In many states, buying marijuana and CBD products is legal. Misconceptions occur due to legality trumping common sense and proven medical statistics on marijuana’s effects on the growing fetus. Marijuana use during pregnancy has shown a higher risk of miscarriage. The dangers of drug use during pregnancy continue to link premature births, low birth weights, and difficulties in labor and delivery to marijuana usage. Any substance smoked during pregnancy affects oxygen levels for the baby.
Cocaine Is Very Dangerous During Pregnancy
Number one of the dangers of drug use during pregnancy is when cocaine is the drug of choice; the baby may also be born addicted to cocaine. One of the most harmful drugs for pregnant mothers to use, cocaine can spur miscarriage, preterm labor, and bleeding. The unborn baby remains at risk of fetal death and stroke, which can cause brain damage. In addition, babies born addicted to cocaine must endure a painful detox and suffer from withdrawal effects for an undetermined time. That said, it’s never too late to begin cocaine addiction treatment.
Heroin Usage During Pregnancy
The dangers of drug use during pregnancy include the unborn baby becoming addicted through the mother’s heroin addiction. Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) occurs when heroin passes through the placenta to the fetus, causing the fetus to be addicted. Severe symptoms are involved with the addicted newborn. Methadone can help decrease the severity of symptoms for the baby and helps wean them from the heroin in their system.
Methamphetamine Addictions Present Unknown Dangers
Researchers are aware of the dangers of drug use during pregnancy on many levels, but the effects of methamphetamine misuse are limited. Premature delivery, placental abruption, small birth size, lethargy, and heart and brain problems have been indicative of methamphetamines during pregnancy. Methamphetamines can contain unregulated substances, which can cause indiscernible outcomes in pregnancy. This fact leads to a higher percentage of overdose possibilities.
Long-Term Effects on Children
Education on the dangers of drug use during pregnancy leads to a small percentage of pregnant mothers ending their addictions during pregnancy. Educators and physicians find this encouraging, but the long-term effects of drug and alcohol use on a child born to an addicted mother are profound. The severity of the impact on the child depends upon the mother’s addiction factors.
Each substance has a different effect long-term on the child. Therefore, the dangers of drug use during pregnancy are not encapsulated only within the term of the pregnancy. Prenatal care and stopping drug use are vital factors in protecting the fetus from harm. Early intervention strategies can help decrease some of the effects of drug use during pregnancy on the child.
The following long-term effects can include all or some of the following:
- Intelligence levels
- Problem-solving abilities
- Attention and focus abilities
- Emotional functions
- Behavior regulation
- Academic achievement
- Future drug or alcohol use
- Visual perceptual abilities
- Memory deficits
- Inability to bond
Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Addiction During Pregnancy
Two drugs are available for treating opioid use disorder during pregnancy, Methadone and Buprenorphine. This treatment decreases the negative effects of opioid dependence on the fetus. Reducing the dangers of drug use during pregnancy is imperative. Even more substantial is the treatment of the pregnant mother to end the addiction. Treatment options for pregnant addicted women are available at specific treatment centers.
Find Detox and Addiction Treatment for Pregnant Mothers in Tennessee
Tennessee Valley Recovery has programs to detox and treat addicted pregnant mothers. We understand how emotional and draining pregnancy can be when occurring with addiction. However, safe detox is possible and, under medically monitored conditions, can be very successful. The decision to stop their addiction is the best decision for both mother and baby. Contact us today to start your recovery journey.