Alcohol and Drug Usage during Pregnancy

Alcohol and Drug Usage during Pregnancy

The use of recreational drugs is more common in teenage pregnant women compared to older age pregnancies. Alcohol and all the recreational drugs are considered unsafe in pregnancy and can be dangerous for both the mother and the foetus. A few common recreational drugs include heroine, morphine, cocaine, amphetamines etc. On the other hand, alcohol consumption since alcohol enjoyed worldwide by both genders, some women assume the consumption of alcohol as safe during pregnancy. This is not true. Pregnant women using any recreational drugs or consuming excessive alcohol during pregnancy, causes harmful effects on the development of foetus. The negative effects of alcohol and recreational drugs during pregnancy are mentioned below:

Alcohol: Harmful effects of alcohol during pregnancy

Excessive intake of alcohol during pregnancy has its negative effect on the foetus. Alcohol may be consumed in a limited amount so that it does not negatively affect the development of foetus. It is highly advised to consult with your doctor to find out the maximum limit of alcohol you may be allowed to consume during pregnancy. A pregnant woman must limit her consumption of alcohol to prevent brain damage.

An excess usage of alcohol may cause the following:

  • Foetal growth restriction,
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome etc.

Usually, pregnant women who consume 20 grams or less of alcohol per day are considered to be safe and not causing any harm herself or to the foetus.

What is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

Fetal Alcohol syndrome is a condition in the newborn caused by excessive consumption of alcohol during pregnancy by the pregnant mother. The condition is characterized by low set ears, flat nose, small size head, and cardiac anomalies, in the newborn. A baby born to a mother who consumes excess of alcohol may suffer from neurological deficits. This means that there are chances that the newborn may not be a 100 percent mentally fit. The chances of having fetal alcohol syndrome also depend on other factors such as smoking, drug abuse and insufficient diet during pregnancy. Few of these factors together with alcohol consumption may result in foetal alcohol syndrome.

How much alcohol is considered safe during pregnancy?

Alcohol consumption of more than 12 cups a day or 100-120 grams per day during pregnancy is harmful for the foetus. It is safe to reduce your intake of alcohol as you plan to conceive or if it happens as an unplanned pregnancy you may consult with your doctor who may help you how to slowly cut down alcohol intake especially during pregnancy. using_drugs_during_pregnancy

Heroine: Harmful Effects of Heroine during Pregnancy

Heroine has no safe amount of consumption. It is best to be avoided or if mother suffers withdrawal symptoms she must be treated with methadone taken only under doctor’s guidance. Methadone helps prevent craving. Heroine may cause adverse effects on the foetus such as intrauterine growth restriction, hepatitis B and C, Premature labour and social deprivation. Proper management of the delivery is advised.

A baby born to a heroine addict mother may show with heroine drawl signs such as:

  • Sweat
  • Tremor
  • Screaming
  • Restlessness etc.

The above mentioned are all withdrawal symptoms that the mother/mother-to-be might face when trying to quit heroine.

Cocaine: Harmful Effects of Cocaine during Pregnancy

The usage of cocaine during pregnancy has similar symptoms to symtoms caused by the usage of other recreational drugs during pregnancy.

However, some possible negative effects of cocaine usage during pregnancy include:

  • Placental abruption
  • Still birth
  • Brain haemorrhage
  • Premature delivery etc.

A neonate also shows signs of delayed brain and skeletal development is the pregnant mother consumed excessive drugs during her pregnancy. It is highly recommended that the expecting woman completely stop the intake of any of these drugs which can permanently harm the foetus. It is also highly recommended that women, who consume cocaine and other drugs before or during their pregnancy, get their complete check up during pregnancy.

Amphetamines: Harmful effects of amphetamines during pregnancy

The usage of amphetamines during pregnancy has found to have the following negative effects:

  • Cleft palate
  • Cleft lip
  • Intrauterine growth restriction in the foetus
  • Hypertension or pre-eclampsia in the mother etc.

It is therefore highly recommended that the expecting mother should completely stop consuming any sorts of recreational drugs during pregnancy. Since the usage of these drugs can have severe consequences and can lead to irreparable damage to the newborn, it is highly advised to see a doctor and get help in regards with rehabilitation.