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Addiction and Substance Abuse

Effects of drug use during pregnancy

11/10/2008

Question:

We are considering adopting a baby due in a few weeks where the mother used the following:

xanax during 1st trimester 1 use of cocaine in 3rd month only 1 cap of heroine a day in 3rd month only

She also smokes currently. There has been no drug use since 3rd months since she`s in prison.

What immediate symptons or concerns should we look for when this baby is born? Since there hasn`t been drug use in 6 months will the baby experience withdrawl?

What are the long time effects?

Also mother is positive for Hep C. What are the chances of baby contracting virus if delivered via c section? If baby contracts virus what are risks/health issues?

Answer:

Most of the damage done to babies of drug abusers is not by the drugs themselves, but by the poor nutrition, exposure to disease, physical and emotional abuse, and criminal activity that goes along with drug abuse.

The drug exposures you mention should not be harmful to the baby. In prison, the mother will be well fed and taken care of. The baby will not get hepatitis C if delivered by C/S.

Most studies have shown that when these babies are taken out of the drug abuse environment and loved, nurtured, and read to daily, they do just as well as any other healthy baby.

For more information:

Go to the Addiction and Substance Abuse health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Debra K Gardner, PhamD Debra K Gardner, PhamD
Assistant Clinical Professor of Pharmacy
College of Pharmacy
The Ohio State University