Illegal substances like marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and/or hallucinogens are being abused by almost 4% of expectant mothers in the United States, according to the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation. Consequences of substance use during pregnancy may result in miscarriage, underdevelopment in your baby, placenta complications (this is what send nutrients to your baby,) premature birth, low birth weight at full term delivery, physical disabilities and deformities including clubfoot and/or cleft lip, cognitive impairment, respiratory issues or even failure, and a higher chance of SIDS, also known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome among more.
Infants born to mothers who have used illegal substances towards the end of their pregnancy commonly go into active withdrawal at birth. Uncontrollable muscle spasms, shaking, shrill screaming are all common when an infant is born drug-dependent. Pediatricians typically report infants born to mothers with chemical dependency issues to be drowsy or irritable and typically have issues breathing, eating and sleeping. Behavioral issues and cognitive impairments are possible but often remain unknown until the child is old enough to determine the effects further.
Because of the risky lifestyle choices of expectant mothers who use drugs and alcohol during their pregnancy, further complications can arise. Expectant mothers are more likely to practice unsafe sex which can lead to sexually transmitted diseases that can pass through to her unborn baby. Needle use during pregnancy can expose the baby to a higher risk of contracting communicable diseases like Hepatitis or HIV. It is vital that expectant mothers not only take the steps to seek help for their drug use during their pregnancy, but also that the community embraces their outcry for help.
If you or someone you know needs help to stop using harmful substances during your pregnancy, please call us confidentially at 801-559-7444. We offer resources at no cost to you without judgement, only compassion, even if you choose to parent.