From the Anne Arundel County Department of Health: Did you know that using cigarettes, alcohol or illegal drugs during pregnancy can harm the mother and her baby? Everything a pregnant woman ingests can affect the baby’s growth and wellness.
Pregnant women who smoke expose their babies to nicotine and the chemicals in cigarettes. If the mother smokes, her baby may be born early, develop a dependency to nicotine, have breathing and behavioral problems, or die before birth or in the first year of life. Secondhand smoke can also cause babies to develop breathing problems, ear infections and dental cavities.
If the mother drinks alcohol while pregnant, her baby can be born too small and with visual, hearing, learning, sleeping and eating problems. Pregnant women who use illegal drugs, including marijuana, heroin and cocaine, can cause their babies to be born early; grow slowly; have heart problems or a stroke;
have shaking, vomiting and other withdrawal symptoms; and to suffer lifelong disabilities.
If you have been using illegal drugs and think you might be pregnant, stop using the drug and talk to a doctor immediately. If you use heroin or opioids, you will need to see a doctor to help you gradually get off the drug—if you stop too suddenly, it can harm the baby.
The Anne Arundel County Department of Health offers free Healthy Pregnancy and Healthy Babies Kits to pregnant women, parents, grandparents and caregivers.