Alcohol, Drugs, and Babies: Do You Need to Worry?
During pregnancy anything that you drink, eat, and take into your body will certainly affects your health and the baby as well. This is one of the facts that every expectant mother should remember.
If you want to give birth to a healthy baby, then you should avoid drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and other illegal drugs that can put your baby at risks.
The baby inside your womb can’t make a choice of what to take that’s why it is the responsibility of the mother to make good choices. Keep in mind that the baby receives oxygen and food through the placenta attached to the umbilical cord.
As you plan to get pregnant, you must stay away from alcohol and drugs. They can cause negative impact to your baby in various ways such as:
- Affects the size of the baby
- Affects the development of the brain and lungs
- Can cause lifelong physical, emotional, and learning issues to the child
To give you more information on how alcohol and drugs affects your baby, continue reading this post.
Alcohol and pregnancy
Whatever you eat and drink is passed onto your baby. That’s why during pregnancy it’s important to ensure that the expectant mother should take only nutritious foods and liquids.
Drinking alcohol can cause fetal alcohol syndrome or FAS. It is a congenital syndrome manifested by physical and mental defects such as heart defects, intellectual disability, cleft palate, as well as defects of the face, arms, legs, and fingers.
Children affected by FAS more likely have limited attention spans and hyperactive. Worse thing may happen when a pregnant woman use alcohol is that the baby may suffer lifelong illness. Regardless of the amount of alcohol the mother has ingested, it is shared with the baby. In fact, even medical experts don’t know the safe amount of alcohol.
Thus, to ensure that your unborn child won’t suffer FAS, you should never drink any alcoholic beverages during pregnancy.
Drinking alcohol during the first trimester of pregnancy is very dangerous. It’s because this is the time when the vital organs of the baby are developing particularly the heart, brain, and lungs.
Another thing is that nursing mother should not drink alcohol while breast-feeding because the alcohol is passed through the breast milk. If the baby is exposed to alcohol, it can cause problems with motor and mental development.
Smoking and pregnancy
Medical experts warn pregnant women that smoking during pregnancy can cause premature birth, fetal injury, and low birth weight. There is also higher chance of stillbirth and miscarriage.
Cigarettes are made from tobacco that contains arsenic, nicotine, carbon monoxide, and other tar products. All these chemicals can harm the developing baby when passed through the placenta. Smoking can limit the blood flowing into the placenta and can retard the growth of the baby.
Likewise, smoking without inhaling during pregnancy is still harmful because the smoke is absorbed in the mucous membrane of the mouth and throat of the mother.
Even those mothers who don’t smoke and their babies are at great risk with the cigarette smoke. Babies who are exposed to cigarette smoke are at greater risk of dying from SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome.
Therefore, anyone who is planning to get pregnant should stop smoking. Make the right choice and never put to risk the health and life of your baby.
Drugs and pregnancy
The medicines that you usually keep in your medicine cabinet can cause bad effect to your baby. If you know that you’re pregnant and you’re not feeling well, you should consult first your doctor before taking any medication.
Some prescription and over-the-counter medicines are not safe for pregnant women. If you’re currently taking medications or supplements and you get pregnant, you should tell your doctor about it to know if it is safe for you and your baby.
If an expectant mother is taking drugs, most likely it will affect the baby. The fetus isn’t only sensitive to drugs, but doesn’t have the capability of eliminating drugs. That’s why there’s great possibility of chemical build up in the baby’s system that may result to permanent damage.
The risks of using drug during pregnancy
Generally, using drugs during pregnancy can cause various issues including the following:
- Low birth weight – being born with low birth weight increases the risk of being vulnerable to illness that may lead to disability and worse death. It also affects the learning ability of the child and in some cases mental retardation.
- Premature birth – an infant who was born prematurely has greater risk of developing problems in learning, eye, and the lung. Premature babies are also prone to infection.
- Birth defects – drug use during pregnancy increases the danger of birth defects and other medical issues like seizure, stroke, learning disabilities, and mental retardation.
- Drug dependency – if the pregnant mother is using drug while pregnant, there’s higher chance that the fetus may become drug dependent. Thus, the baby may also experience withdrawal symptoms after birth.
Moreover, drugs can negatively impact the development of the limbs and organs of the fetus. The development of the central nervous system can also be affected by the drugs. That’s why using drugs should be avoided at the onset of pregnancy.
Illegal drugs and pregnancy
Pregnant women using street drugs are putting the health of their babies at risk. Using illegal drugs such as:
- heroin and
during pregnancy can cause premature birth and born with smaller size. The child may also characterize behavioral problems.
If you are planning to get pregnant but has been using alcohol or drugs, the first thing to do is to seek help. Otherwise, it is your baby who will suffer the consequences and the results of drinking alcohol and using substances. Refraining from alcohol and drugs does not ends after giving birth, but as long as the mother is breastfeeding the baby.
The safety and well-being of the baby depends on the mother. That’s why expectant mothers should be responsible in avoiding the things that are harmful to the baby.