Substance Abuse Resources-How can Drug Addiciton in Preganant Women affect the Fetus

May 3, 2008

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If a pregnant woman abuses chemical substances including most drugs and alcohol, then she is creating severe health problems not only to herself but also to the fetus developing inside her womb.

Since the fetus in the womb relies completely on the mother for nutrition, several complications can occur in the fetus.Nicotine is also a chemical substance that can affect the fetus. Nicotine can enter the mother’s body when she smokes and through her body it can enter into the fetus. Women who smoke during pregnancy hold the risk of a premature birth and the baby may be born with a low birth weight.

Most drugs have similar effects on the fetus. They can seriously impair the development process of the fetus. They can cause the baby to be born with a shorter height than healthy babies have, and a lower birth weight. One noticeable effect of maternal drug abuse in newborn babies is a smaller head in comparison with the rest of the body.

Since drugs affect the brain, they have all likelihood of affecting the brain of the fetus too. Children whose mothers used drugs during the pregnancy will mostly lag in their studies, will have low concentration and retention abilities and will not have powerful faculties for rationalizing things.

A very dangerous effect is that the children can be born with immunity to the substance the mother abused. This happens frequently when the mother is a user of heroin. If children are born with this immunity, there’s a high probability that they themselves will seek and get into a heroin addiction at a very young stage of their lives.

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