Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Pregnancy

Font Size
A
A
A

Alcohol or Drug Use During Pregnancy

Drinking or using drugs during pregnancy increases the chance of miscarriage as well as the risk of having a baby with physical and emotional problems. These problems can range from mild problems to severe birth defects.

Fetal alcohol syndrome is a combination of physical and mental birth defects caused by exposure to alcohol before birth. About 1 in every 1,000 babies is born with fetal alcohol syndrome.

A baby born with fetal alcohol syndrome may have:

  • Small size and low birth weight.
  • A small head size and defects of the head and face.
  • Defects of the joints, arms, or legs.
  • Poor muscle coordination.
  • Heart defects.
  • Intellectual disability.
  • Behavioral problems, such as being overactive or having poor attention span, as he or she grows up. Children with fetal alcohol syndrome continue to have behavioral and learning difficulties into adulthood.

Marijuana use can cause premature delivery, small size, and low birth weight. Cocaine and amphetamine use can cause spontaneous abortions, preterm labor, and low birth weight. A baby of a mother addicted to heroin, cocaine, or amphetamines may experience severe symptoms of drug withdrawal shortly after birth. Also, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection can be transmitted from shared needles used to inject drugs. HIV can then pass to the baby from the infected mother before birth.

Some of the damage caused by alcohol and drug use can occur very early in pregnancy. If you are thinking about becoming pregnant, stop drinking or using drugs before trying to become pregnant. Exposure to drugs or alcohol is particularly damaging during the first 3 months (first trimester) of pregnancy. Some women do not even realize that they are pregnant during this time.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerPeter Monti, PhD - Alcohol and Addiction

Current as ofMarch 12, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

Today on WebMD

hand circling date on calendar
Track your most fertile days.
woman looking at ultrasound
Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
 
Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
The signs to watch out for.
pregnant woman in hospital
Are there ways to do it naturally?
 
slideshow fetal development
Slideshow
pregnancy first trimester warning signs
Article
 
What Causes Bipolar
Video
Woman trying on dress in store
Slideshow
 
pregnant woman
Article
Woman looking at pregnancy test
Quiz
 
calendar and baby buggy
Tool
dark chocolate squares
Slideshow