SUBSTANCE ABUSE & PREGNANCY
Substance abuse, whether alcohol or drugs, can have lasting and dire effects on the fetus’ health both within the uterus and post-birth. Use of alcohol or drugs during pregnancy can cause birth defects, babies born addicted and suffering the effects of withdrawal, low birth weight, mental and physical disabilities and more. The sooner a person stops using, the more hope there is of having a healthy baby. So, if you or someone you know is pregnant and using alcohol or drugs, please contact us. Help is available. Many of the women who have gone through Arizona Women’s Recovery Center programs have delivered healthy babies and are parenting and living healthy lives. AWRC also provides emergency and transitional housing for women in recovery.
In addition to illegal drugs, prescription drug use and alcohol can have severe effects on unborn babies. Babies can be born with birth defects, low birth weight, premature birth, small head circumference, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and more.
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is a group of problems that occur in newborn babies whose mothers used addictive, illegal or prescription drugs while they were pregnant. Drugs can include heroin, methadone, cocaine, amphetamines, benzodiazepines and pain medications like codeine, Oxycodone, Percocet, and Vicodin. These and other substances pass through the placenta to your infant during pregnancy causing babies who are born drug-dependent.
Many medications should not be taken during pregnancy. Please, ask your doctor before taking any prescriptions. From 2008 – 2013, 1 in 3 babies was born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), a disease primarily caused by drug use during pregnancy. Babies born with NAS could have low birth weight, respiratory issues, feeding difficulties and seizures in addition to many other symptoms.
Alcohol use during pregnancy is the leading cause of developmental disability and birth defects in the United Staes. In fact, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) affect an estimated 40,000 infants every year – more than Spina Bifida, Down Syndrome and Muscular Dystrophy combined (SAMHSA, 2003)! Effects of FASD include physical, mental, behavioral and/or learning disabilities with lifelong implications. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, one of the effects of FASD, costs the United States $5.4 billion annually and it is 100% preventable.
Although Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders can occur when a woman drinks/uses even before she knows she is pregnant, in order to limit effects a woman must stop drinking/using immediately upon finding out she is pregnant. If you or a loved one is pregnant and having difficulty stopping drinking alcohol or using drugs, please call us at 602-264-6214.
It’s never too late. We have programs and supportive housing to help you or your loved one give birth to a happy, healthy baby. For more information, download the Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome flyers.