Drug addicted babies: Can past drug abuse affect your unborn baby?

Drug addicted babies: Can past drug abuse affect your unborn baby?
Drug addicted babies-Can past Drug abuse affect your unborn baby or pregnancy

Can past Drug abuse affect your unborn baby or pregnancy?

During pregnancy, new parents are often worried about having a healthy child. When expecting a child, exposure of the developing baby to dangerous drugs can have harmful effects both on the mother as well as the baby. In a recent report, sixteen drug addicted babies were born in Tayside, Scotland in the last 12  months of 2017. The report also revealed that the babies were born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). NAS effects were developed when the mother is under the influence of substances such as heroin during pregnancy.

When the babies are born, the umbilical cord is cut which stops the flow of blood between the mother and the baby. It leads to cut off to the flow of blood and any drugs between the mother and the baby. As a result, it is seen that the baby will go through the same withdrawals as that of an adult drug addict. Symptoms include high-pitched crying, shaking or tremors, vomiting, excessive sweating, and sometimes even fits.

There are support and health care services that ensure that drug addicted babies get the care they need to grow, thrive and live a normal life. Babies with such withdrawal symptoms are admitted to the neonatal unit and treated to control the symptoms of NAS.

What are some of the common substances that can lead to drug addicted babies:



Women take longer than men to recover from alcohol addiction. It is perhaps one of the most commonly abused substances that pregnant women should stay away. There has been some speculation that maybe some amounts of alcohol are safe for pregnancy. But the sources of the information are not reliable. The U.S. Surgeon General, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), asserts that there is no safe amount of alcohol for a female trying to become pregnant or already pregnant.

When a mother consumes alcohol, even a small amount of alcohol can pass on to the child through the umbilical cord and placenta. All alcohol beverages can cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs), a collection of condition that may develop in an alcohol-drinking mother. Some FASD conditions include – abnormal facial features and underdeveloped head size.



These are a class of drugs that include heroin, morphine, codeine, and methadone. Taking these drugs can have adverse effects on the baby and the mother. Opioids are the leading cause of drug addicted babies. Addiction to narcotics can result in a narcotized fetus. Consumption of opioids is dangerous for pregnancy because of sudden withdrawals can lead to miscarriage and high fetus distress which is dangerous for pregnancy.



Having cocaine during pregnancy can be dangerous for the baby and the mother. Cocaine affects the central nervous system and like any other drug, it can be passed to a developing baby through the placenta. If a woman is having cocaine in her pregnancy, she can be effected with early placenta separation which can cause bleeding and death for baby and mother. There can also be premature birth, low birth weight, and miscarriage.


How to avoid drug addicted babies?

If you are a past drug user who has left using drugs quite a long time ago there is something positive for you. Firstly, congrats on kicking the habit. You should only be worried only if you are actively using these drugs. If you have been clean for a long time, there shouldn’t be any affect to the unborn child. But if you are a drug addict and want to avoid a drug addicted baby here are some steps you can take.


Some precautions to take to prevent drug addicted babies:

  • Eating healthy and nourishing meals.
  • Taking a prenatal vitamin.
  • Avoid alcohol or tobacco.
  • Say no to any kind of substance abuse – opioids, cocaine or marijuana.
  • Avoid taking any medications without the clearance from your doctor.
  • Check in to a neonatal unit


Contact us:

Females using drugs have an increased risk complications during pregnancy. If you need assistance with your drug addiction or need a detox from the comfort of your home, call us at 888-474-6231 for immediate assistance.

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