Struggling with addiction is a tough battle for many women, but the added pressure of being pregnant is an even bigger challenge toward recovery.
Opioids, marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco are all dangerous substances when abused, especially for pregnant women.
Opioids are both prescribed to treat pain (oxycodone or morphine) and made illegally (fentanyl or heroin). According to the CDC, Opioid Use Disorder is defined as, “a problematic pattern of opioid use that causes significant impairment or distress.” When it comes to pregnancy, opioid use has been linked to:
- Maternal death
- Preterm birth
- Poor fetal growth
- Specific birth defects
- Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) – essentially withdrawal from the drugs
There is still ample research being done on marijuana use and pregnancy, but medical professionals warn that marijuana use can easily lead to other substance use such as tobacco. Talk with your doctor or obstetrician if you become pregnant and struggle with marijuana addiction.
Tobacco & Alcohol
Smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol in any quantity are unsafe during pregnancy. Smoking can lead to preterm birth and low birth weight, as well as lip and mouth birth defects. Additionally, nicotine is highly addictive and can damage a baby’s brain and lungs.
Any amount of alcohol at any point in one’s pregnancy is unhealthy. There are several known health risks that come from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, including:
- Smaller-than-average weight and height
- Hyperactive behavior and difficulty with attention
- Learning disabilities
- Vision or hearing problems
- Many more
If you or someone you know struggles with substance abuse, please reach out to your doctor or call SAMHSA;s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP. You can also find help at this link. The SCCAA Community Actions Pathway HUB is an available resource for pregnant and new mothers in need of support, education, and community services.