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A baby on the way is a cause for great joy and excitement, whether it’s the firstborn or another welcome addition to the family. Unfortunately, addiction does not take holidays, and many women are still engage in substance abuse after becoming pregnant. The CDC reported that 1 in 9 women will drink alcohol at some point during their pregnancy. Taking drugs or consuming alcoholic beverages not only affects the child during pregnancy, but can be dangerous to the mother as well. The purpose of Drug and Alcohol-Related Birth Defect Awareness Week is to educate future mothers on how they can be safe during their pregnancy and deliver a healthy, happy baby.

Birth Defects and Alcohol Consumption

Risks Associated with Alcohol Consumption and Pregnancy

When a woman drinks while pregnant, it’s possible for alcohol to reach the baby through the mother’s bloodstream. This can cause a disorder known as fetal alcohol syndrome, or FAS. Children born with FAS can experience a multitude of problems such as misaligned facial features, growth problems, poor intellectual skills, and disorderly behavior. This condition cannot be cured, and the child will be affected for the rest of their life.

The child can also be born with a birth defect which weakens their bones, kidneys, heart, or a mix of these. They may also experience withdrawal from alcohol upon birth, depending on how much the mother consumed during the pregnancy.

Risks Associated with Drug Use While Pregnant

Taking hard drugs such as cocaine or methamphetamine can put the mother at great risks for migraines and seizures, placental abruption, and in extreme cases – the death of the mother herself. In the same way as alcohol, a baby can be exposed to harmful drugs through its mother’s bloodstream, and can experience withdrawal upon birth. Children whose mothers dealt with substance abuse can suffer from low birth weight and are more likely to develop mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. Other risks include birth defects and the risk of stillbirth.

There is no “safe limit” when it comes to alcohol and drugs while pregnant. Women who are dealing with substance abuse while expecting should seek help immediately, with no reason to be ashamed.

If you need help or know someone who does, give us a call today.