Drugs and pregnancy

Drugs and pregnancy

Risks of drug use
There is a much greater chance of complications during pregnancy and birth if you use alcohol and / or drugs during that period. Use of alcohol and drugs during pregnancy can seriously disrupt the development of the baby. It can create dangerous situations and, for example, cause growth retardation in the baby. In later life, the effects of drug use can still be seen in the child, sometimes even for life. In this way the child can have a permanent disability in the areas of ​​behavior, emotions and intelligence. Disturbed motor skills and other physical abnormalities are often seen when the woman has used drugs before and during pregnancy.

If you have (or have) used drugs
If you have used or are still using drugs, tell your doctor, obstetrician or gynecologist as soon as possible. This can refer you to a specialized consultation hour. The health of the baby will be checked with more regularity. It is possible that the baby is still healthy, but the risk of abnormalities has already increased.

If you want to become pregnant
The use of alcohol and drugs has a great influence on fertility. If you have used drugs in the period before you became pregnant, this can still affect the development of the baby. It is highly recommended that (long) before you become pregnant, you stop taking drugs and alcohol, this also applies to men (drug use affects the quality of the sperm).
 

How do alcohol and drugs affect pregnancy?

  • Sperm cells and egg cells: the sperm cells must be able to move well and quickly, have a good shape and sufficient sperm cells must be present. The egg cell must also be of good quality. The use of addictive substances can have direct influences on sperm cells, ova and fertilized eggs. This can not only lead to miscarriage, but also to abnormalities in the baby.
  • The fallopian tube: the cilia in the fallopian tube bring the egg to the uterus, so it is important that the cilia function properly. Drugs can affect the fallopian tubes, with the result that the fertilized egg does not arrive (in time) in the womb to settle there. It is also possible that the fertilized ovum gets stuck in the fallopian tube, so that an ectopic pregnancy occurs. This is very dangerous.
  • Placenta (placenta): Many drugs and alcohol are able to pass through the barrier of the placenta from the mother to the child. For example, the drug use of the mother can influence the development of the child.

The pregnancy
The fertilized egg nestles in the wall of the uterus. The most important organs of the baby are formed in a period of about 4 weeks. The brain, the heart, kidneys, eyes, ears, also the teeth are already being constructed. After about 7 weeks the baby already has hands, feet, fingers and toes.

The first weeks of pregnancy is a very sensitive period. Everything that goes wrong during this period has (very serious) consequences for the baby. If you use drugs in this period, it can disturb the development of the baby, if it is a major developmental disorder, it can lead to a miscarriage.
All organs are developed after the first weeks (embryonic period), after that they only grow (this is the fetal period). The nervous system and the brain develop throughout the pregnancy and also afterwards. After 40 weeks the pregnancy is over and during that entire period, drugs can affect the baby and placenta.

The placenta
The placenta is connected to the baby via the umbilical cord.
This ensures that:

  • the nutrients and oxygen of the mother's blood can be brought to the baby's blood.
  • the waste materials and CO2 are transferred from the child's blood to the mother's blood.
  • This must all happen without the blood of the baby coming into contact with the mother's blood. The placenta allows passage to some materials and denies others. Many drugs and alcohol are able to reach the baby through the placenta and thus influence the development of the baby. With a child in the womb, all functions are still under development. Even if the mother considers a quantity of drugs to be small, this can lead to abnormal development of the baby. This can even result in death for the child.

Childbirth
For a mother and baby a delivery is a very strenuous effort. They can therefore be best in good condition. Drugs and alcohol use makes childbirth for mother and child a dangerous undertaking.

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