For those pregnant women who are using drugs, there is no doubt that almost all drugs pass through the placenta to reach your baby and have some effect on them. It is important to note that drugs in your body will definitely reduce the amount of oxygen that can reach your baby. Early in pregnancy, some drugs may affect your baby’s development and as a result your baby may not grow as well as is expected in your uterus (womb). We all understand the significance of drug addiction and the life of the baby. This is not something that can be wished a way by all means. Talking to doctor Dalal Akoury we have realized that taking illegal drugs will cause problems later in your pregnancy, and as a matter of fact the use of such drugs can affect how well the placenta works. With the presence of drugs in the system, there is a risk that the placenta may come away from the side of your uterus, sometimes causing severe bleeding a process known as placental abruption. Placental abruption is a serious condition and, because of the bleeding it causes, it can be life-threatening for you and your baby. Your baby may have withdrawal symptoms if you were taking drugs regularly during your pregnancy which may necessitate that the baby stay in hospital for a while so that nurses and doctors can check him or her for signs of withdrawal and give the right treatment.
The common concern for many women is that what happens to them and their unborn children if they were taking drugs before becoming pregnant! It is actually true that many people take drugs as part of their social life. Besides if you took a drug without realizing you were pregnant on a one-off occasion, then you don’t have to worry because it’s very unlikely that it will have any effect on your baby. However, if illegal drugs are part of your life and as a result of that you have become an addict, it will be very important that you seek for help immediately to improve the outlook for you and your baby says doctor Akoury.
Besides the various questions that often cross many people’s minds, there are certain known facts about the effects of illegal drugs and such facts may include the following:
Cannabis (marijuana) – Cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug. Taking cannabis during pregnancy might make your baby unsettled and more easily startled after he is born. In the longer term, it could cause behavior and learning problems for your baby as he grows older. Remember that smoking cannabis also exposes your baby to the risks related to smoking. If you smoke, you are more likely to go into premature labour. There’s also a higher chance that your baby will be born with a low birth weight and other complications, and it increases the risk of cot death.
Speed (amphetamines) and crystal meth (methamphetamine) – For the benefit of your unborn child, it would be very proper for you to stop taking speed or crystal meth before you get pregnant or during and after pregnancy. If you have been using these drugs, you can still quit even when you are pregnant, but to be safe and this is very important, you should stop taking these drugs with medical help in a drug treatment program. This is so because stopping suddenly could be harmful for you and to your baby as well and could even cause miscarriage. Remember that taking speed or crystal meth can make the following more likely:
- A complication where the placenta can’t carry enough oxygen and nutrients to your baby, called placental insufficiency
- The placenta separating from your uterus (placental abruption)
These drugs can affect your baby’s growth in the uterus, making her smaller than expected for your stage of pregnancy and increasing the chance of premature birth.
Ecstasy – Doctor Akoury says that there’s a lot of concern about the long-term side-effects of taking ecstasy. Nonetheless more needs to be done to ascertain any effect it may have on your pregnancy or your baby. At the moment, there is very little evidence that this can cause any significant effect to either the mother or the baby. But all the same ecstasy may have an effect on your baby’s motor development (co-ordination and movement). But then again there is limited evidence that it could cause birth defects and a lot more research needs to be done to establish that.
Cocaine and crack cocaine – Taking cocaine or crack during pregnancy may increase your risk of having a miscarriage and of placental abruption later in pregnancy. Using cocaine while you are pregnant can slow down your baby’s growth in the uterus. It may also increase the risk of your baby having problems with learning and behavior when he is older.
Heroin and strong painkillers – Heroin has serious risks for your baby. The same kind of problems can happen if you are regularly using related painkillers (opioids) like morphine or Tramadol during pregnancy. You may not realize that you can become addicted to strong painkillers. But if you use heroin or other opioids, it is vital to get treatment as soon as it is practically possible. Trying to quit on your own could be dangerous for you and your baby. It could cause a miscarriage or premature birth, or your baby could be stillborn. The safest way to quit is with medical help, as part of a drug treatment program. And remember that during pregnancy, heroin and other opioids can slow down your baby’s growth and have an effect on how her brain grows. These drugs can also make it harder for your baby to breathe just after she is born.
One of the most serious problems for your baby is withdrawal symptoms when she is born. Your baby will need special care in hospital if she has withdrawal symptoms. As she grows older, your child may have behavioral problems. Experts are yet to establish the effects about growth and intelligence but there are indications that these may also cause some effects both for you and the baby. Finally your life and that of your baby are priceless. You may be finding it difficult to face your addiction problem and so you hide and suffer in silence. This will not help, doctor Akoury founded AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center with you in mind. We have a team of experienced professionals waiting to help you face this giant before you. All you need to do on your part is to schedule for an appointment with doctor Akoury and you will never regret making this decision.