Will substance abuse affect pregnancy and baby?
Substance abuse is when a person uses too much of a substance or when a person uses a substance incorrectly. The substance can be a medicine, a drug, alcohol, tobacco, or a chemical.
Substance abuse during pregnancy can harm a baby’s health. Poisons from the substance can damage the baby’s organs. If the substance abuse causes the mother to have poor nutrition, it also causes the baby to have poor nutrition.
How does substance abuse affect baby?
Substance abuse can cause pregnancy loss. It can also cause a baby to develop health problems after birth. These problems may be temporary or last a long time. Temporary problems include:
- Fussiness, irritability, and restlessness.
- Poor feeding, vomiting, or spitting up.
- Jitteriness or trembling (even when kept warm).
- Poor sleep.
- Poor response to sound and light.
- Poor interaction with the mother.
Long-term problems include:
- Growth retardation.
- Unusual facial features.
- Mental retardation.
- Problems with internal organs, such as the heart, brain, intestine, or kidneys.
- Learning disabilities.
How are infants treated?
Treatment will depend on the substances that were used by the mother. Treatment may involve:
- Keeping the baby in a calm, quiet, and dimly lit area.
- Giving the baby medicine to lessen symptoms of withdrawal.
- Surgery. This may be done if the baby has a birth defect or has a long-term problem that affects his or her organs.
As the baby grows she or he may need therapy or special education to help with mental or physical problems or delays that cannot be cured or reversed.
Contact a health care provider if:
- The baby is feeding poorly and is not taking or keeping down formula or breast milk.
- The baby’s diaper remains completely dry for most of the day.
- The baby seems to be wetting or soiling more diapers than is normal.
- The baby has bright red diaper rash or skin problems that do not get better with skin care treatment.
Get help right away if:
- The baby has a seizure or shakes uncontrollably.
- The baby seems to have trouble breathing.
- You cannot wake the baby up.
- The baby’s skin or lips look blue, even if you are keeping the baby warm.
- Caring for your baby feels overwhelming and you have thoughts of hurting or neglecting your child.
If you ever feel like you may hurt yourself or others, or have thoughts about taking your own life, get help right away. You can go to your nearest emergency department or call.