Prenatal Drug Abuse

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Prenatal drug abuse is a very tragic, yet preventable issue in our society. For a pregnant woman, drug abuse is doubly dangerous. Drugs may harm her own health, interfering with her ability to support the pregnancy. Also, some drugs can directly impair prenatal development. All illegal drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, pose dangers to a pregnant woman. Legal substances, such as alcohol and tobacco, are also dangerous, and even medical drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, can be harmful. For her own health and the health of the child, a woman should avoid all of them as much as possible from the time she first plans to become pregnant or learns that she is pregnant.

A mother who uses drugs risks her life and her baby's. When a pregnant woman uses drugs, she and her unborn child face serious health problems. During pregnancy, the drugs used by the mother can enter directly into the baby's bloodstream. The most serious effects on the baby can be HIV infection, prematurity, low birth weight, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, small head size, stunted growth, poor motor skills, and behavior problems. A mother's continuing drug use puts her children at risk for neglect, physical abuse, and malnutrition. It may be difficult for some pregnant women who are addicted to drugs to just impede their abuse. Many women who use drugs have had troubled lives. Studies have found that at least 70 percent of women drug users have been sexually abused by the age of sixteen. Most of these women had at least one parent who abused alcohol or drugs (Williams, 2006).

The article, "Four percent of pregnant women used illicit drugs in past month", was based on reports on the use of illegal drugs by pregnant women in the month of May 2005 according to a study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in the United States. It describes the prevalence of substance abuse among pregnant women, reasons behind the higher prevalence of illicit drug use...
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