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Substance Abuse Before, During and After Pregnancy

Substance Use During Pregnancy the Effects on the Mother

The baby isn’t the only one who can be negatively impacted by substance abuse during pregnancy. As always is the case drug abuse can have some and long term health consequences for the adult too. While substance abuse is always dangerous, it can be especially so while pregnant. Drug and alcohol abuse can significantly raise the risks of complications, such as preeclampsia (high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, most often the liver and kidneys). Drug use can also raise a pregnant woman’s blood pressure (gestational hypertension) and increase the chance of going into premature labour

pregnancy

Substance Use During Pregnancy the Effects on the Baby

Substance abuse during pregnancy has significant, harmful effects on unborn children. Depending on the type and amount of the drug taken, the effects can range from mild to deadly. They can also affect the baby throughout their childhood and well into adulthood. Potential consequences of drug or alcohol abuse on a developing fetus include:

  • Low birth weight
  • Preterm birth
  • Birth defects
  • Abnormal feeding and growth during infancy
  • Learning disabilities
  • Heart problems
  • Joint problems
  • Poor coordination

Effects for Babies Born Addicted to Drugs

When expecting mothers take drugs or drink alcohol, the substances pass from their bloodstream directly into their babies. Unborn babies can develop a dependency on drugs just as harshly as adults can. The consequence of this level of drug use is that babies are often addicted to it when they are born. Every day four babies in the UK are born addicted to drugs. These new-borns usually require treatment right away, which can include giving them opiate drugs. It is a disturbing situation that happens about 1,536 each year (according to an investigation by the Daily Mirror). Babies experiencing withdrawal symptoms as soon as they are born include convulsions, fever, and tremors; it is impossible to know how much discomfort these new-borns experience. The harrowing truth is that many of the babies die from this addiction even before they can start to have a life.

Treatment Options for Babies Born Addicted to Drugs

When expecting mothers take drugs or drink alcohol, the substances pass from their bloodstream directly into their babies. Unborn babies can develop a dependency on drugs just as harshly as adults can. The consequence of this level of drug use is that babies are often addicted to it when they are born. Every day four babies in the UK are born addicted to drugs. These new-borns usually require treatment right away, which can include giving them opiate drugs. It is a disturbing situation that happens about 1,536 each year (according to an investigation by the Daily Mirror). Babies experiencing withdrawal symptoms as soon as they are born include convulsions, fever, and tremors; it is impossible to know how much discomfort these new-borns experience. The harrowing truth is that many of the babies die from this addiction even before they can start to have a life.

Substance Abuse in New Mothers

The period directly after giving birth can be a tough time for any woman, even in the best of circumstances. High amounts of stress, abrupt hormonal changes, and postpartum medical conditions can lead to mental health problems, like depression. This risk can make new mothers particularly vulnerable to substance use disorders, relapse or increase in abuse. Many women manage to abstain from drugs and alcohol during pregnancy, but 80% of new mothers experience a sobriety setback after giving birth.

How Substance Use Affects Breastfeeding

Low doses of drugs or alcohol will be present in the breast milk of mothers who use. Alcohol consumption while breastfeeding can reduce the amount of milk a woman produces and it can disrupt the baby’s sleep cycle. Heavy drinking may have long-term effects on a breastfed child’s motor coordination and verbal skills.

Even small amounts of illicit drugs in breast milk can have toxic effects on an infant. Some drugs, like cocaine, can pass through breast milk efficiently and can cause severe toxicity in a baby. Exposure to other substances, such as marijuana, can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Getting Help For Substance Abuse and Addiction

Our services are available 24/7, you can contact us for help whenever you need to. Once you have contacted us we can help you take the next steps in your recovery, help you in rehabilitating from addiction and offer support however you may need.

Remember addiction, no matter what kind, is beatable. YOU can overcome it, in reading this information, whether purposefully or not you have unknowingly taken the first step in your recovery. Don’t look back now.

 

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