Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of preterm birth and can also interfere with the way the placenta attaches to the uterus. Nicotine and carbon monoxide from smoking decreases the flow of oxygen and reduces the amount of nutrients the fetus receives.
Babies born to mother’s that smoked during pregnancy are at a higher risk for long-term problems such as asthma, colic and childhood obesity. The risk of sudden infant death syndrome, SIDS, is also increased.
Drinking during pregnancy is not recommended and can place your baby in danger. When an expectant mom consumes alcohol, it passes to the fetus through the placenta. Since the underdeveloped liver is not able to metabolize the substance, it can trigger physical, mental and behavioral problems.
Even one drink per day can be harmful to your baby, but heavy alcohol use, 3 or more drinks at one time or 7 drinks per week, can lead to a severe developmental problem known as fetal alcohol syndrome, or FAS.
The affects of illegal or prescription drugs during pregnancy depend on the actual drug, how much is used, and the stage of pregnancy when it is consumed. Taking any drugs during pregnancy that have not been prescribed or approved by your OBGYN is dangerous and can interfere with fetal formation and cause birth defects or miscarriage.
If you have smoked or used drugs or alcohol at any point in your pregnancy, honesty is the best policy. Talk with your obstetrician and be open about the frequency and amount of these substances. Consider treatment options for stopping, since withdrawal can also be harmful to your baby.
Avoid the use of any tobacco, alcohol or drug products during pregnancy. Consult your OBGYN before taking even over-the-counter or herbal medications to be sure they are safe for your baby. Every mother wants to protect her baby from harm and to offer this tiny human being the very best chance at a healthy start. Taking care of your own health is the first step.