Cause and Effect

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The Effects from Drug Use, Drinking, and Smoking While Pregnant
Women who are pregnant or wanting to become pregnant should not drink, smoke, or abuse drugs. Abusing these substances could cause substantial harm and have serious side effects on the child from the time it is in the womb to post birth. Each of these harmful substances could entail damaging consequences if a child has exposure to them in utero. This can lead to physical, emotional, learning, and social impairments for a child.

There are a number of illegal drugs that are especially harmful to an unborn child. Drug use could have extremely harmful effects on the child before it is born, post birth, or even later in life. Pregnant women who abuse harsh drugs, such as cocaine and heroin are putting their baby’s lives in jeopardy. For example, stated by March of Dimes: Working Together For Stronger, Healthier Babies; the use of heroin while pregnant may cause the mother to go into premature labor or possibly have a stillbirth. Injecting this drug during pregnancy with a shared needle may also put the mother and baby at risk of contracting HIV. As a result, the long-term effects of this drug may cause learning and behavioral problems for the child.

Equally damaging as stated by March of Dimes, the use of cocaine while pregnant can increase the risk of miscarriage or cause the baby to grow inadequately. Some studies suggest that cocaine-exposed babies are at increased risk of birth defects involving the urinary tract system and possibly other birth defects. Cocaine may cause an unborn baby to have a stroke, which can result in irreversible brain damage.
If exposed to cocaine during pregnancy babies tend to have smaller heads and are subject to learning disabilities later in life. According to the National Institute of Health, there may be as many as 45,000 cocaine-exposed babies per year. The long-term effects of this drug can produce mental...
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