Substance Abuse During Pregnancy

A pregnant women lays on her back in bed. Her gaze is despondent as she looks off into the distance.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioid use among pregnant women is a significant public health concern in the United States. Opioids, or narcotics, are prescription medications used to treat chronic, persistent, or severe pain. However, taking almost any type of drug during pregnancy can negatively impact the health of your unborn child.

Dangers of Substance Abuse During Pregnancy

Tobacco, alcohol, illegal drugs, or even misuse of prescription drugs during pregnancy increase your risk of birth defects, premature birth, low birth weight, small head circumference, stillborn births, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Certain drugs can also affect your child’s cognitive performance, information-processing, attentiveness, and general behavior during early childhood and adolescence.

Why? Many substances pass easily through the placenta, which means whatever you ingest, your baby also eats, drinks, swallows, and smokes. Women who smoke tobacco or marijuana, take prescription pain relievers, or use illegal drugs during pregnancy have a three times higher risk of stillbirth than pregnant women who do not.

Symptoms of drug withdrawal in a newborn

Protect your health and the health of your baby by taking the first step toward recovery. The skilled clinical team at Miramar Recovery Center can help you overcome your substance use disorder and protect your newborn from the terrible symptoms of withdrawal (which can occur immediately or up to 14 days after their birth), such as:

  • Blotchy skin coloring
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Excessive or high-pitched crying
  • Abnormal sucking reflex
  • Trembling
  • Increased muscle tone
  • Irritability
  • Sleep problems
  • Poor feeding
  • Rapid breathing
  • Seizures

Are any drugs safe to take during pregnancy?

If you’re taking any medications for medical purposes, here are some safety tips to follow when you’re pregnant:

  • Over the counter
    If you’re unsure about taking an over-the-counter medication during pregnancy, talk to your health care provider.
  • Prenatal vitamins
    Talk to your doctor about which prenatal vitamin is right for you. Many over-the-counter options have doses that are too high.
  • Aspirin and ibuprofen
    Do not take these medications during the last 3 months of your pregnancy unless instructed by your health care provider.
  • Natural dietary supplements
    While herbs, amino acids, minerals, and vitamins are considered natural, they may not be safe to take during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor before taking any natural supplement.


If you’re ready to overcome your addiction and help your baby live a happy and drug-free life, call Miramar Recovery Center at 949-691-5036 for safe and effective substance abuse treatment near you.

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