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Addiction and Pregnancy

Substance abuse is always harmful, but women who use substances during pregnancy are placing two lives at risk. In the United States, the prevalence of drug use among pregnant women is on the rise. Although addiction is a serious and sometimes life-threatening disease, there is hope for pregnant women and their babies. The first step toward recovery is to learn about drug addiction and its potential complications and this comprehensive article will offer addicts or their loved ones a good place to start.

Cocaine Use During Pregnancy

Cocaine is an illegal stimulant that can be extremely damaging to expecting mothers and their babies if used during pregnancy. While myths about “crack babies” have largely been proven unfounded, the more subtle effects of cocaine use during pregnancy remain a serious concern for both addicted women and their children.

Risks to the Mother

Cocaine use can cause weight loss, heart attacks, strokes, respiratory failure, and infections from shared needles. Many of these side-effects can be life threatening, especially during pregnancy. Cocaine can also cause early uterine contractions, leading to maternal blood loss and premature labor.

Risks to the Baby

Miscarriages are more common among expecting mothers who use cocaine, as is placental abruption. Many infants are born preterm or at a low birth weight, and those that are carried successfully to term often have smaller heads or other congenital malformations. Later in childhood, these infants are more likely to display behavioral and developmental problems.

The Bottom Line

Addiction always causes suffering. When pregnant women abuse drugs, alcohol, or tobacco products, they’re not just harming themselves, though. They’re also harming their babies. Anyone who is struggling to quit using drugs or alcohol while pregnant should seek help immediately to avoid further complications.

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