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What are the effects of drugs on an unborn child?

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Studies show that using drugs -- legal or illegal -- during pregnancy has a direct impact on the fetus. If you smoke, drink alcohol, or ingest caffeine, so does the fetus. If you use marijuana or crystal meth, your fetus also feels the impact of these dangerous drugs -- and if you are addicted to cocaine, you're not only putting your own life on the line, but you are risking the health of your unborn baby.. The consequences of using cocaine include heart attacks, respiratory failure, strokes, and seizures. These life-threatening health problems can also be passed to an unborn baby.

Taking drugs during pregnancy also increases the chance of birth defects, premature babies, underweight babies, and stillborn births. Exposure to marijuana and alcohol before birth has been proven to cause behavior problems in early childhood. These drugs can also affect the child's memory and attentiveness. In addition, some findings show that babies born to women who use cocaine, alcohol, or tobacco when they are pregnant may have brain structure changes that persist into early adolescence.

While cocaine's effects are usually immediate, the effect it can have on a fetus may last a lifetime. Babies born to mothers who smoke crack cocaine during pregnancy usually have their own set of physical and mental problems. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, exposure to the drug in the womb can lead to subtle, yet significant, deficits later in children. These deficits usually show up in areas such as cognitive performance, information-processing, and attention to tasks. These are areas that are vital for success not just in school, but in life.

From: Drug Use and Pregnancy WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - National Survey on Drug Use and Health, September 2014.

National Toxicology Program: "Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (CERHR)."

March of Dimes: "Illicit Drug Use During Pregnancy."

Medline Plus: "Pregnancy and Substance Abuse."

CDC: "Smoking Early In Pregnancy Raises Risks Of Heart Defects In Newborns."

FDA: "Pregnancy and the Drug Dilemma."

National Toxicology Program: "Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (CERHR)."

Bruce, D, PhD. Ballantine Books, 2000. Making a Baby: Everything You Need to Know to Get Pregnant,

Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson on February 06, 2019

SOURCES:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - National Survey on Drug Use and Health, September 2014.

National Toxicology Program: "Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (CERHR)."

March of Dimes: "Illicit Drug Use During Pregnancy."

Medline Plus: "Pregnancy and Substance Abuse."

CDC: "Smoking Early In Pregnancy Raises Risks Of Heart Defects In Newborns."

FDA: "Pregnancy and the Drug Dilemma."

National Toxicology Program: "Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (CERHR)."

Bruce, D, PhD. Ballantine Books, 2000. Making a Baby: Everything You Need to Know to Get Pregnant,

Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson on February 06, 2019

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Which drugs have the most serious consequences for a fetus?

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