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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.

Marijuana Use During Pregnancy

Less empirical data on the effects of using marijuana during pregnancy is available, but both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Centers for Disease Control advise pregnant women to avoid marijuana use. Women who use marijuana during pregnancy are more likely to use tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs, which makes it difficult to determine which pregnancy and birth complications stem from which drug of abuse, but recent research indicates that marijuana use by itself may still damage the health of pregnant women and their fetuses.

Risks to the Mother

The risks to expecting mothers of using marijuana during pregnancy are similar to those of using marijuana during any stage of life. They include rapid heart rate, memory loss, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and poor short-term memory.

Risks to the Baby

Although marijuana use does not pose any life-threatening risks to mothers, it may be much more damaging to their babies. Women who use marijuana during pregnancy are at 2.3 times higher risk of experiencing a stillbirth and are at higher risk of giving birth prematurely. Infants born to marijuana-addicted mothers may suffer from a low birth weight and may exhibit withdrawal symptoms after birth. They may also experience developmental problems and behavioral problems in childhood and will be more likely to use marijuana later in life.

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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