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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.

Tobacco Use During Pregnancy

Data collected by the National Vital Statistics System shows that around 7% of women smoke cigarettes during pregnancy, although smoking prevalence varies substantially depending on mothers’ geographical location, level of education, ethnicity, and other factors. Quitting smoking can be extremely challenging, but it’s best for women to quit before attempting to get pregnant or if the pregnancy was not planned, as early on in the first trimester as possible.

Risks to the Mother

Smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products always increases women’s risks of getting cancer, causes lung damage, and can raise blood pressure and heart rate. During pregnancy, it is also more likely to cause nausea, sweating, and diarrhea. Tobacco consumption also increases women’s risk of ectopic pregnancy.

Risks to the Baby

Smoking during pregnancy can have lifelong repercussions for babies. It can lead to premature birth, low birth weight, and certain defects of the mouth and lip in addition to increasing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and leads to stunted growth. As children grow up, they are more likely to experience behavioral problems and will be at increased risk of developing addiction themselves.
Keep in mind that the use of smoke-free tobacco products such as e-cigarettes and nicotine replacement products while pregnant still endangers the fetus and places the mother at risk. Nicotine, no matter how it is consumed, can damage a developing fetus’s brain and lungs. Additionally, some e-cigarette flavorings may also harm the developing fetus.

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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