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Illicit Drug Use during Pregnancy Essay

Drug exploitation in pregnancy is an elaborate public health problem with conceivably serious conflicting effects for the mother, the fetus and spreading to the developing child. When a mother becomes pregnant, it is important to her baby’s health that she has a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating plenty of nourishing foods, getting a decent amount of rest and exercising normally. For a pregnant woman, pregnancy substance abuse is twice as dangerous because not only is it affecting her, its also affecting the baby that’s inside of her. Drugs may harm her own health, which will intervene with her ability to support the pregnancy; also some drugs can directly reduce prenatal development.

All illegal drugs pose a danger to pregnant woman, Even legal substances such as tobacco, alcohol, and prescription drugs are dangerous to woman that are expecting. As many as one in ten babies may be born to woman that use illegal and prescription drugs while being pregnant. ( Kallen, Bengt; 2009) Alcohol consumption and illegal drug abuse is intensely precarious during pregnancy and therefore pregnant woman should admire their value to their child and never exploit them.

Studies shown in 2008 that the amount of babies born to drug addicted mothers has almost doubled since 2003. Pregnant mothers have been using drugs during pregnancy for decades without knowing the effects it can have on their child. Even though many people assume that illicit drugs used by pregnant mothers cause no harm to the fetus there have been studies shown otherwise. If a mother uses cocaine in the early stages of pregnancy it can increase the risk of a miscarriage, when it is used later in pregnancy cocaine usage can lead to muscle spasm, feeding difficulties and sleeplessness. Cocaine has many street names such as crack, blow, snow, and coke. It is highly addictive and it is a central nervous system stimulant. Cocaine comes from a plant that has been used for thousands of years in the most parts of the world, it comes from the coca leaf and it is the most dangerous stimulants of the natural origin. The drug can be injected, snorted, or smoked. It increases the addict’s blood pressure, body temperature and heart rate. The risks that cocaine may cause to a pregnant woman are respiratory failure, heart attacks, nausea, seizures and also abdominal pain. Sudden death may also occur to first time users, because the body is not use to the adrenalin the drug is giving it.

When a pregnant woman uses cocaine it crosses through the placenta and circulates through the fetus’s body, fetuses eliminate cocaine from their bodies more slowly then adults do. In assertive rare chances perinatal cerebral infraction associated with cocaine use has also been known to happen, this drug decreases uttering blood flow and increases maternal blood pressure. When placental abruption happens it can lead to preterm birth, severe bleeding and even a fatal death. Studies show that woman who use cocaine during pregnancy are at least twice and likely as other woman to have a premature baby, since cocaine cuts the flow of nutrients and oxygen to the fetus, the baby may be much smaller at birth than it would be otherwise. Physically cocaine exposed babies tend to have smaller head which indicates a smaller brain. Post pregnancy babies of woman who use cocaine regularly during pregnancy are between three and six times more likely to be born at a low birth weight, less than 5.0 pounds than babies who do not use the drug.

Pre-mature birth is caused by low birth weight and can be caused by poor growth before birth. Low-birth weight babies are 20 times more likely to die in their first month than normal weight babies are. The babies that actually survive are at an increased risk of lifelong disabilities such as mental retardation, cerebral palsy, visual and hearing impairment. In the USA, the 2004 Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that 5% of American women reported the use of an illicit drug during pregnancy. In the UK, national estimates for pregnant drug users are lacking, but studies report that approximately a third of drug users in treatment are female and over 90% of these women are of childbearing age (15–39 years of age). A study comparing the profiles of pregnant drug users presenting to a perinatal addictions service in London (UK) found illicit heroin use (38%), followed by cocaine use (24%) as primary drugs of abuse, with poly substance use common. (Rashekhar Moorthy Madgula, MD; 2011)

Pregnancy should be taken seriously and one should implement a healthy lifestyle to keep them and their unborn child safe. A pregnant woman’s lifestyle habits as well as her partner’s can severely affect the health of their unborn baby. If the pregnant woman and her spouse have already taken these actions into consideration it should be continued throughout the entire pregnancy. It is never too late for a pregnant woman to start thinking about making behavioral changes or having withdrawals. Staying acting during pregnancy can only have a positive effect on the baby and the expecting mother with providing her feeling more energy and developing a healthy lifestyle.

BabyCentre Medical Advisory Board (2014, July). Illegal drugs in pregnancy – BabyCentre. Retrieved from Health and Pregnancy (n.d.). Drug Use and Pregnancy. Retrieved 2009, from Källén, B. (2009). Drugs during pregnancy. New York: Nova Biomedical Books. Narconon (2013). Drug Use During Pregnancy. Retrieved from Using Illegal Drugs During Pregnancy | American Pregnancy. (2011, May). Retrieved from

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