- Women's Health
Healthy Pregnancy: Leave Bad Habits Behind
Be Healthy and Grow Strong During Pregnancy
Once you find out you are pregnant you'll want to do everything you can to maintain optimum health for you and the growing baby. The following unhealthy habits can harm you and your baby. Not only are the drugs themselves unhealthy, but when judgment is impaired, you may not take the best care of your body. Women who use these drugs tend to be malnourished and suffer more sexually transmitted diseases than women who abstain.
Everyone knows you shouldn't smoke when you're pregnant, but a lot of people do it anyway. While it may not do as much damage as some other drugs, smoking is more prevalent in our society and may seem ‘not so bad'. However, the nicotine in cigarette smoke decreases blood flow to the baby. And the carbon monoxide cuts down on the oxygen in the blood. Double whammy. This lack of oxygen to the baby can cause him to be born at a low weight.
Not only is a low birth weight baby at a higher risk to get sick or die, it's harder for them to sleep through the night. You're actually causing yourself a lot of extra work, and possibly tragic consequences by smoking during pregnancy.
Besides risks to your baby, smoking can cause problems during pregnancy as well. You could miscarry, go into labor too early, or suffer a placental abruption, which puts not only your baby's life at risk, but yours as well.
Smoking pot while pregnant carries many of the same risks as smoking cigarettes, namely the risk of premature delivery and low birth weight. Smoking marijuana may also affect your baby's development. The scary part is that because marijuana is an illegal drug, you never know what you're smoking includes some other drugs or has been grown with toxic pesticides.
Cocaine and Crack Cocaine
Using any type of cocaine during pregnancy increases your risk of premature labor and placental abruption. The extra stress on a pregnant woman's body, when exacerbated by cocaine can cause stroke, heart attack, or high blood pressure. Your baby could have severe neurological or developmental problems or suffer from seizures after birth.
Any type of narcotic or opiate, including heroin, methadone, codeine, and morphine can affect your baby's growth, cause pre-term labor, and death. If you are addicted to any of these drugs, your baby can be born addicted. He will experience withdrawal symptoms, including the possibility of death.
Amphetamines such as meth decrease your appetite, which can mean the baby won't receive enough nutrition to grow properly. In addition, amphetamine use can cause small head size, placental abruption, stroke, and death.
If you did any of these drugs before you knew you were pregnant, don't panic. The important thing is to get help to stop now. Be honest with your health care provider about your previous use of recreational and illegal drugs in case extra tests are needed to ensure your baby is developing normally.