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Risks of Prenatal Substance Abuse

Substance abuse increases a user’s risk for a variety of health conditions, including overdose and death. If the user is a pregnant woman, she is not the only one at risk. The developing fetus also suffers.

Health Risks of Prenatal Substance Abuse to the Mother

The abuse of any substance, whether prescription pain killer, illicit drug or alcohol, increases the mother’s risk for a miscarriage (spontaneous abortion). Miscarriages can result in:

  • Hemorrhaging (heavy blood loss)
  • Infection
  • Infertility

Miscarriages are often emotionally traumatizing for the prospective mother. For a woman dealing with substance abuse, a miscarriage may exacerbate emotional issues for which drugs or alcohol have been used to cope.

Health Risks of Prenatal Substance Abuse to the Child

Some babies are carried to term and live despite substance abuse, but not without consequences. Fetal development is impaired by substance abuse, particularly alcohol. Babies born to mothers who abused alcohol during pregnancy may present symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome, which include:

  • Facial abnormalities, such as small head and/or flat face
  • Growth delays
  • Learning and/or behavior disorders
  • Birth defects

Babies on the fetal alcohol syndrome spectrum may also have trouble bonding with their mother, and that can have lasting effects on the child’s social and emotional development.

Babies born to women who abused opioids during pregnancy may be born opioid-dependent. The child may experience withdrawal and may need to be titrated off opioids.

Help for Pregnant Women Battling Substance Abuse

Pregnancy complicates substance abuse treatment, but it does not make it impossible. Duke City Recovery Toolbox in Albuquerque, New Mexico offers a range of treatment options for substance dependency and drug addiction. Our experienced physicians can coordinate with your primary and prenatal care providers to administer and adjust medication-assisted treatment during pregnancy to help you stay on your path to recovery. To get started, please contact us to schedule an intake appointment. You may also walk-in any time between 6:00 and 8:00 am Monday through Thursday.

Contact Duke City Recovery Toolbox for treatment that can reduce the risks of drug abuse during pregnancy.

Re-tooling Lives and Restoring Souls