5 Commonly Abused Substances and Their Effects During Pregnancy

Today, you might be shocked to learn that even pregnant women are engaging in drug abuse and alcoholism without considering its implications. There is no viable reason for an expectant mother to smoke, take alcohol, or use other illicit drugs.

Some have even been admitted to rehab facilities, such as https://www.ascendantny.com/, and have quit drugs. Others continue with the drug abuse habit, and it ends up having some or all of the effects discussed below on them and the child.

Type of Substances and Their Effects

Different drugs and alcohol have varying effects on pregnant women and the unborn. Some of the most prevalent substances and their effects include:


There has been no clear explanation of the effects of caffeine on expectant mothers or the fetus over the last decade. Some studies show that consuming this chemical can lead to miscarriage, lower birth weight, and early delivery. Other reports indicate that consuming a controlled amount of caffeine does not pose any risks to the mother or the fetus. It is recommendable for pregnant women to consume as little caffeine as possible, since none of the two reports can be said to be true.


Marijuana, also known as bhang, is among the most commonly abused substances, mainly due to its availability and inexpensiveness. The effects of this drug on an infant are not apparent, but some studies show that prenatal marijuana consumption can be associated with miscarriage, hard labor, and small birth size. You get the full effects of bhang by inhaling deeply and holding the smoke in your lungs for an extended period. That smoke can cut short the amount of oxygen and nutrients that the fetus receives, negatively affecting its growth. Moreover, the effects of marijuana, such as behavioral issues and poor growth, may pop up in your child’s later life stages.


This substance is classified under ‘street’ drugs. Others in this category include heroin, methadone, and crack. Cocaine is a hazardous substance to unborn babies and mothers. It can lead to preterm death, miscarriage, fetal demise, and bleeding. Moreover, street drugs can lead to fatal strokes, which lead to permanent brain damage and death. Irritability and jitters are some of the withdrawal symptoms that a child who has prenatal exposure to cocaine may have after birth. Other issues relating to exposure to cocaine include sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), abnormalities in the reproductive system, feeding difficulties, and slow growth.


Besides marijuana, alcohol is abused in significant quantities by pregnant mothers. From the traditional notion, you may think that the effects are mild, but the truth is the exact opposite. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a common effect of prenatal exposure to alcohol on the unborn child. Some of the major impacts of FAS include low weight at birth, retardation, heart and facial defects, and learning challenges. There are no reports about the safest amount of alcohol that pregnant mothers can take. Therefore, the best option is to abstain as much as possible. The best time to quit would be before you conceive. However, if the pregnancy comes unplanned, you should start avoiding the bottle when you perceive or confirm you are pregnant.


Smoking during pregnancy can lead to a woman giving birth to a child who is too small. Moreover, mixing alcoholism and pregnancy can lead to preterm labor, miscarriage, and the death of a newborn. If you fall under that category, it is time to throw that cigarette away. Look for support groups and programs that aim at helping pregnant women who want to quit taking the puff.

There are so many issues arising from substance abuse during pregnancy. Although most of them are not justified yet, the best step that helps you to be on the safe side is by staying away from any dangerous substances. These include alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine.


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