When a woman uses drugs or alcohol during pregnancy, the effects on the child can be devastating.
Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant should not drink alcohol in any amounts, but 40 percent of women do report some drinking during pregnancy. Binge drinking is more harmful than the occasional drink. The effects are also more harmful during the first three months of pregnancy. Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) can occur when a woman drinks while the baby is in the womb. It can cause both mental and physical problems for the child. A baby with FAS may have poor muscle tone and coordination, and problems with the face and bones, like small eyes, head, and jaw. There may also be delayed development, such as rolling over, crawling, walking, and talking.
Nicotine, like alcohol, may not be an illegal substance but should be avoided during pregnancy. It was caused low birth weight, increased weight as older children and adults, respiratory problems in infancy, and asthma.
Exposure to cocaine in the womb can lead to an increased risk of seizures, depression, schizophrenia, and Parkinson’s disease as adults.
Children may also have psychological and behavioral problems as a result of the mother’s substance abuse. Cocaine and nicotine use during pregnancy can lead to the poor emotional development and conduct disorders. Intellectual disabilities, or an IQ of 50 to 69, are also common.
Some babies don’t even survive to be born. Alcohol and drug use are risk factors for spontaneous abortions, or pregnancy loss at less than 20 weeks, Placental abruption (abrupt placentae) is another possible complication of pregnancy. The placenta, which is attached to the wall of the uterus, supplies the baby with nutrients and oxygen. Placental abruption occurs when the placenta separates from the inner wall of the uterus, decreasing or blocking the baby’s supply of oxygen and nutrients.
After the child is born, substance abuse can continue to negatively affect their growth. An addict’s lifestyle, which may include poverty, violence, and a lack of a stable family, can set a poor example for a child and lead them down the path to their own addiction. This negative environment can lead to further problems with a child’s development, as absent or neglectful parents aren’t likely to help a child learn to read or teach them how to properly behave in a social setting.
Consider also that many children born to drug or alcohol addicted parents are taken away and placed in other, safer home. The number of children in foster care has skyrocketed, particularly due to the opioid epidemic. In some places, drug abuse is defined by law as child neglect. Federal laws also require that hospitals notify child protective services of any babies affected by prenatal substance exposure.
If you have a substance abuse problem and are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant, seek treatment as soon as possible. At Asana Recovery, we can help you detox safely with the support of our highly experienced, licensed staff. Call us now at (949) 438-4504, and begin the road to recovery for yourself and your family.