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The Effect of Cocaine Abuse and Addiction on Pregnancy

Cocaine is a very strong drug, a stimulant that affects the central nervous system whether it is smoked, injected, or snorted. Though women have a three to five percent chance of giving birth to a child with a birth defect in any given pregnancy, according to the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists, that chance increases significantly for expectant mothers who abuse cocaine.

Cocaine Abuse Is Dangerous During Pregnancy

No amount of cocaine is safe for use during any point of pregnancy. Every day is an important growth step for the unborn child and taking cocaine at any point could disrupt that developmental process. The drug crosses the placenta and affects the child during all parts of the pregnancy, and has the potential to cause serious problems. Children born to mothers who abuse cocaine during pregnancy have cocaine in their urine and stools, umbilical cord, and hair; babies process the drug much more slowly than adults, which means that the drug builds up and stays in the system for far longer.

Risk of Miscarriage With Cocaine Abuse

When cocaine is abused during the first trimester, the risk of miscarriage is highest; however, it remains a risk throughout the pregnancy. As fetal development progresses, cocaine use can mean the separation of the placenta from the wall of the uterus, a condition called placenta abruption. If this occurs, heavy bleeding may follow and can be fatal for the mother and baby. Premature delivery is also a risk if miscarriage doesn’t occur and with that comes the risk of a number of complications, including death.

Other Problems Caused by Cocaine Use During Pregnancy

There are a number of different issues that mothers who abuse cocaine during pregnancy risk for their unborn child. Some of these include:

  • The risk of birth defects, including abnormalities of the brain, face, limbs, genitals and urinary tract
  • Withdrawal symptoms that signify cocaine dependence
  • Intense jitteriness and irritability after birth
  • Interrupted sleep patterns and issues with sensory stimulation for up to 10 weeks after birth
  • Central nervous system problems
  • In later childhood, there may be issues of behavior problems, aggression and inattention
  • Learning delays
  • Abnormal muscle tone
  • Abnormally slow rate of growth
  • Language development issues

Cocaine Addiction Treatment

If you are addicted to cocaine and you are pregnant, you can get the help you need to stop before you hurt your unborn child. Contact us today for information about cocaine rehabilitation programs for women here at The Orchid.

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