February 18, 2018
Assignment: Cause and Effect Draft
Drug Use During Pregnancy
When first becoming pregnant that is the most crucial time when it comes to choices. In 2012 it has been said that every 25 minutes a baby that is dependent on drugs is born, that is about 22,000 children per year. Opioid addiction had gradually risen and the percentage of children drug dependent has most likely climbed since 2012. The most common side effects due to opioid-dependent babies involve premature birth, seizures, birth defects, poor birth weight and some babies die from withdrawals. Babies born addicted to cocaine and methamphetamine have shown to have the highest consequences after birth. Smoking cigarettes during pregnancy are very common and will cause serious problems to the unborn fetus and the wellbeing of the mother while she is still pregnant. Some women are prescribed certain medications that they are required to take daily; some of those medications are not safe to take during pregnancy. Prenatal care is something most women who are pregnant and using drugs avoid. Pregnant women should put a halt to drug use while pregnant, because the unborn fetus is the one that will suffer in the long run, causing developmental disorders later in life or even death after birth.
In this case, women who become pregnant and are currently using hard drugs don’t care about the consequences their unborn fetus faces. Any drug will have some sort of after effect towards the baby but, babies born addicted to cocaine, methamphetamine, opioids, and marijuana have common side effects. “An unborn fetus exposed to cocaine are known to have a smaller head, that can indicate a lower IQ.”, says Traci C. Johnson, MD. Any hard drug being taken during pregnancy; you can expect a premature birth or even a miscarriage depending on how hard the drug was used. Johnson even stated, “Cocaine-exposed fetuses can have a stroke in the womb which will cause brain damage or even death”. With the drug epidemic that has been on the rise, doctors pay close attention to each and every baby that is born. Even when a lot of people consider marijuana to be a natural drug unborn babies still can withdrawal. The extent isn’t near as bad as what cocaine or meth can do but they will cry extensively, tremble and have a low birth weight. Some pregnant women may not have a drug addiction but are addicted to nicotine and struggle to lay down one of the nastiest habits of all.
Granted, cigarettes are a nasty habit that a lot of people face every day and becoming pregnant they don’t realize the extent of damage this habit can cause to their unborn fetus. Traci C. Johnson states, “Mothers who smoke early during their pregnancy are more likely to deliver babies with several heart defects”. The carcinogens in cigarettes will cause a low birth weight when the baby is delivered. Something I learned from the resource I found was, “babies born that were exposed to the carcinogens in cigarettes are at risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Most always hear, “keep your baby swaddled and on its back to prevent SIDS”. Every person will have their own theory when it comes to caring for their child but, cigarettes can be a huge factor to SIDS. Becoming pregnant, every mother should take every precaution to slowly wean themselves from cigarettes to keep your baby as healthy as possible. Quitting cold turkey can cause stress on the mother and then pass it to the fetus which can potentially cause a miscarriage. Not all women who are pregnant are careless when it comes to taking drugs, some are prescribed medication they have to take on a daily basis
Another key point, some women are prescribed medication they must take daily; the extent of what the damage of the drug may cause is unknown. Upon becoming pregnant it is requested you must always talk to your doctor to be sure your medication won’t hurt your unborn fetus. It is illegal to run tests on women who are pregnant to determine whether taking prescription drugs is safe during pregnancy. Johnson says, “Upon delivery, the baby that is born exposed to prescription drugs will be compared to the babies that were not exposed to prescription drugs”. If some of the medication is not safe your doctor will help you find a safe alternative but, sometimes that is not an option. Women experience serious medical conditions that they deal with daily and are required to take certain medications to subside their symptoms. Pregnant women who are careless and take hard drugs or women who are scared to face reality believe it or not they do not realize how important it is to maintain the proper prenatal care while pregnant.
For this reason, there are multiple pregnant women who avoid prenatal care when they become pregnant because they fear the provider will notice their drug use. Avoiding prenatal care when becoming pregnant can be very dangerous due to common complications that can happen with any pregnancy. Whether its Placental Previa where the placenta will place itself over the cervix which it will not allow a baby to pass through the birthing canal, it requires a C-section. One resource says, “Some women who are not drug users will sometimes avoid prenatal care due to insurance issues or transportation”. It is an important necessity when it comes to being pregnant, even if you use drugs. Express to your doctor about your drug use that way they can help you seek help to avoid serious consequences that your baby may endure. They say, “Drug use is a barrier, where women would use drugs and get high over their prenatal care.” Women have their excuses as to why they don’t seek care for their unborn child and they know the extent of what can happen if they don’t.
No matter the circumstance whether you use hard drugs and put your baby at risk for birth defects or death, smoke cigarettes, take mandatory prescription drugs, or avoid prenatal care there will always be a consequence when it comes to your unborn fetus. Over the years there has been extensive research and tests ran to determine outcomes to deliveries and drug exposed babies. With the increase of drug use in the United States every care provider pays close attention to babies born every day. That is why women will avoid care while they’re pregnant. I think if every baby was drug tested upon birth and placed with a family that will care for them in the right way, and the parents face charges I think a lot of drug-related pregnancies would start to dwindle down. Drug use during pregnancy is very critical and research is always taking place. Everyone will have their own hypothesis about the outcome, but no matter the hypothesis you must do what is in the best interest of your unborn child.
Johnson, Traci J. “Drug Use and Pregnancy.” WebMD, WebMD, 21 Jan. 2017,
Complex Calculations: How Drug Use During Pregnancy Becomes a Barrier to Prenatal Care
Roberts, Sarah; Pies, Cheri
Maternal and Child Health Journal, 2011, Vol.15(3), pp.333-341 Peer Reviewed Journal