How Substance Abuse Affects Pregnancy

Alcohol use, tobacco use, and certainly many other forms of illicit drug use during pregnancy are big no-no’s. Not only do we know abuse and misuse of any of these substances will have negative health outcomes for the user, but when the user is pregnant, they also have detrimental impacts on the baby. What exactly are the implications for the baby? Tripling the risks of stillbirth is one.  

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome 

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) occurs when a mother constantly engages in the use of specific drugs causing the baby to experience withdrawal symptoms at birth. This can happen with opioids, alcohol, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, even caffeine. There is a range in severity of withdrawal the infant will face which is directly related to the mother’s use. The types of symptoms can also vary by her use and how her body breaks down each substance. The length the infant is able to remain inside the mother’s womb is another aspect leading to the infant’s withdrawal intensity. 

Other Symptoms of Substance Use During Pregnancy 

Stillbirth rates vary with the substance type. Tobacco use causes up to almost three times higher risk for stillbirth while marijuana use makes the stillbirth risk 2.3 times higher. Even passive exposure to tobacco can cause significant problems, as it has been linked to a 2.1 times higher likelihood of stillbirth. An infant born to an addicted mother can exhibit symptoms immediately or the infant may have a delay in symptoms for up to 14 days. Signs of withdrawal in an infant include:

Blotchy skin coloring
Diarrhea
Excessive or high-pitched crying
Abnormal sucking reflex
Fever
Hyperactive reflexes
Increased muscle tone
Irritability
Poor feeding
Rapid breathing
Seizures
Sleep problems
Slow weight gain
Stuffy nose and sneezing
Sweating
Trembling
Vomiting
Birth defects
Low birth weight
Premature birth
Small head circumference

Finding Addiction Treatment Help In Tennessee 

How Substance Abuse Affects PregnancyOftentimes, those struggling with substance abuse and misuse issues are also engaging in other high-risk behaviors such as unprotected sex. Along with the increased risk for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) that goes along with promiscuous and unsafe sex practices, there is also an increased risk of pregnancy. If you are addicted to alcohol or another illicit drug, finding help to overcome your addiction is an essential step to preserving your health and wellness and reducing your risk for making a decision that could involve an unexpected pregnancy. The medical detox and addiction alternative treatment center at Discovery Place offers programs that are specifically designed to support and assist those who want to beat their addictions. 

Should you be pregnant and also be addicted to any substance, Discovery Place’s  Tennessee addiction alternative treatment center has a team of caring and professional support staff who are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call our Tennessee detox alternative treatment center anytime day or night at 1-800-725-0922 to discuss your situation and to have all your questions answered.

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