The Effect Of Drugs On Pregnancy

… The NIDA reveals that drugs taken during pregnancy affect the mother and the growing fetus because these substances “pass easily through the placenta.”

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development explains that the placenta is “a temporary organ linking mother and fetus [which] brings nutrients and oxygen to the fetus and moves harmful waste and materials away.” It performs the same duties as many internal organs not yet fully formed—like the lungs, liver, and kidneys—and, if problems develop, can create lifelong issues for the mother and child.

What are some of those potential issues? The answer to that question depends largely on which drug or type of drug is consumed….

[list of legal and illegal drugs and their affects on pregnant women and fetuses]….

The Impact of Addiction on a Newborn Baby

When a drug is taken regularly during pregnancy, the baby may become dependent on it, creating a withdrawal effect after birth. This is called neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and is most common if the baby is born addicted to opiates. If NAS exists, this typically requires that the baby be hospitalized in an effort to effectively treat the withdrawal symptoms.

According to the NIDA, these withdrawal symptoms can appear up to 14 days post-birth and often include:

  • Irritability
  • Excessive crying
  • High-pitched crying
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Increased heart rate
  • Diarrhea and other gastrointestinal issues
  • Slow weight gain
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures

Long-term effects of drug use by the mother during pregnancy can also create lasting effects for the baby, such as those that occur as a result of birth defects, premature birth, or low birth weight. In severe cases, it can even lead to SIDS….

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