How Harmful is Alcohol, Drugs and Smoking while Pregnant?
Pregnancies can cause all sorts of stresses and anxiety for all birth mothers alike. During a pandemic, an unplanned pregnancy could make these stresses worse. Some birth mothers may turn to a support system for help, while others may not seek help at all. One of the worst possible things that a birth mother can do to respond to stress, however, is turning to substances like alcohol, drugs and smoking while pregnant.
Not only do all of these things have harmful effects on you in general, but can have even worse ones during pregnancy as well. If you find yourself experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, you may want to know just how bad these effects are and what they can do to your baby. Especially as a birth mother who is placing her baby for adoption and hoping to find a nurturing and loving home for them.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not meant to be taken as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor, OBGYN or nutritionist if you have any questions or concerns regarding your specific pregnancy and health history.
How Harmful is Alcohol, Drugs and Smoking while Pregnant?
1) Alcohol and Pregnancy
Alcohol is considered to be a depressant. In other words, it can force your heart rate to slow, which immediately affects the baby and their heart rate. This, in turn, can harm your baby’s development. Studies show that drinking alcohol while pregnant can increase your risk of stillbirth, miscarriage and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Alcohol can also cause facial deformities or mental disabilities. These effects impact your baby for the rest of his or her life. It isn’t something that stops or can be cured after they are born.
Alcohol affects your baby and their development immediately. This is no grace period. However, if you had a drink or two before you found out you were pregnant — don’t panic! Everything will be ok. Just be sure not to have any more alcohol from that point on. If you are struggling with alcohol addiction in any way, don’t hesitate to speak with one of our caseworkers. We have resources and counseling services available to help.
While there is a lot of controversy surrounding alcohol and pregnancy, it’s recommended that you stop drinking alcohol as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. Be sure to consult with your doctor about any questions or concerns that you have with this.
2) Drugs and Pregnancy
Drugs — both legal and illegal –are considered to be stimulants. Taking them can give you a rush of adrenaline or make you feel high. Illegal drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine (meth), are very harmful to your baby’s development. Babies who have been exposed to drugs are at a higher risk of birth defects, damage to the urinary tract or heart, premature birth and low birthweight. Brain damage and the potential of a stroke within the womb are also possible.
Prescription and over the counter medications are still considered drugs, but are a different story. While the effects of these on your baby’s development are not as well-known, if you need to take certain medications while you are pregnant, be sure to consult with your doctor. They will be your best resource and will do all they can to ensure that you and your baby remain safe and healthy.
3) Smoking and Pregnancy
Smoking, cigarettes or otherwise, has its own dangers regarding your pregnancy journey. Research shows that smoking while pregnant can increase the risk of health issues with your baby including, but not limited to: premature birth, low birthweight, cleft lip and palate and other birth defects. It also raises the risk of your baby developing and suffering from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Two of the active ingredients in cigarettes are nicotine and hydrogen cyanide. The smoke that emits from the cigarettes is tobacco, which is composed of carbon monoxide and other harmful substances. All of these materials are detrimental to your baby’s development, health and safety. Birth mothers who smoke while pregnant often experience placenta problems, which provides nutrients to your baby in the womb. If the placenta becomes compromised in any way, so does your baby.
So, How Harmful is Alcohol, Drugs and Smoking while Pregnant?
Extremely! The three things mentioned above are non-exhaustive, but very important to keep in mind. If you are a birth mother looking to place your baby for adoption, we hope that this resource provides a helpful tool in showing you how to have the healthiest and safest pregnancy — for both you and your baby.
Birth defects can cause everlasting, negative effects to your baby. Remember, though, that if you are struggling with an addiction, Adoption Choices of Kansas is here to help. One of our key goals is to ensure that your baby is born happy and healthy. We care about you and your baby’s health and we do not want to see either of you in immediate harm of any kind.
Adoption Choices of Kansas serves birth parents statewide and beyond, please call us or text us to learn more!
Call Us 877-903-4488 or Text Us 316-209-2071
Meet the Author: Jason Legasse is a rising senior English major studying at Siena College in Loudonville, New York. He hails from the Albany, New York area, but has plans to relocate to sunny Venice, Florida with his mom come Fall. After completing his bachelor’s degree, Jason plans to study General Special Education at Meredith College, where he will earn a Master’s degree and use that to teach middle school Special Education.
Jason is a self-proclaimed introvert with Asperger’s who really enjoys writing. He has a huge passion for helping others, specifically those with disabilities. He is very excited to be working with Adoption Choices over the summer, and looks forward to learning more about the adoption process!