Dangerous! Smoking, drinking alcohol and taking street drugs are dangerous to you and your baby!
Dangers of smoking If you smoke during the month before you get pregnant and throughout your pregnancy, you’re increasing these risks to your baby:
• miscarriage (This is when a baby dies in the womb before 20 weeks of pregnancy.)
• stillbirth (This is when a baby dies in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy.)
• premature birth (This is birth that happens too early, before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy.)
• low birthweight (This is when a baby is born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces.)
• birth defects, such as cleft lip, cleft palate, or both
• Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (also called SIDS) (This is the unexplained death of a child while sleeping.)
• infant death
Problems with your placenta Your placenta grows in your uterus and supplies your baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord. If you smoke when you’re pregnant, you’re increasing the risk that you will have problems with your placenta during pregnancy. This could cause serious health problems for you as well as your baby!
Quit smoking! Quit smoking before you get pregnant. This is best. However, if you’re already pregnant, quit as soon as possible. You can still help protect your baby and yourself against health problems.
You can get help over the phone from a “Quit Coach.” This is an American Cancer Society program. Call 1-800-227-2345.
Dangers of drinking alcohol If you’re pregnant, you should not drink alcohol at any time during your pregnancy. You also should not drink alcohol if you are trying to get pregnant.
From mama to baby Alcohol in your blood passes to the baby through the umbilical cord. If you drink alcohol, your baby drinks alcohol.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, prematurity, low birthweight and infant death.
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders Drinking alcohol also can cause your baby to be born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs).
Some of these disorders are:
• abnormal facial features
• small head size
• shorter-than-average height
• low body weight
• poor coordination
• hyperactive behavior
• difficulty with attention
• poor memory
• difficulty in school (especially with math)
• learning disabilities
• speech and language delays
• intellectual disability or low IQ
• poor reasoning and judgment skills
• sleep and sucking problems as a baby
• vision or hearing problems
• problems with the heart, kidneys, or bones
Call AA! You can call Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) at 1-323-936-4343 or 1-800-923-8722.
Dangers of using street drugs Street drugs are bad for you, and they’re bad for your baby.
Street drugs include:
• Ecstasy, methamphetamine and other club drugs
• Prescription drugs your health care provider did not prescribe for you
In some states it is legal to use marijuana. But if you use marijuana when you are pregnant, your baby’s brain may not develop properly.
Problems Using street drugs can cause a number of problems, including:
• problems with the placenta
• preterm labor (labor before 37 weeks of pregnancy)
Complications Babies born to moms who use street drugs during pregnancy often have these complications:
• premature birth
• low birth weight
• smaller-than-normal head size
• heart defects
• birth defects
• infections, including hepatitis C and HIV.
• neonatal abstinence syndrome
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. These viruses often affect people who share needles to inject street drugs. Moms can pass these infections to their baby during pregnancy or at birth.
Neonatal abstinence syndrome is a group of health conditions that can happen when a baby gets addicted to a drug before birth and then goes through drug withdrawal after birth.
Problems later in life Babies born to moms who use drugs often have problems later in life, including:
• learning and behavior problems
• slower-than-normal growth
• sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
Call 211! Do you want to find programs that will help you stop taking street drugs? Phone 211.
Talk to your doctor! If you’re smoking, drinking or taking drugs, talk to your doctor or other health care provider! He or she can help.
Are you on WIC? You can talk to your WIC educator about how to have a healthy baby. Do you want to stop smoking, drinking or taking drugs? Your WIC educator can give you a referral to a program that can help. Just ask!