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The Dangers of Pregnancy and Addiction

The Dangers of Pregnancy and Addiction

Pregnancy comes with so many changes, and it’s very important to watch what you put in your body during this time.

A pregnant woman will deal with stress and physical discomfort as this significant life transition occurs, and it’s very common to feel extreme anticipation. This major stress can lead to substance abuse for some, and there are dangers that all pregnant women should be aware of when it comes to addiction and pregnancy. Our drug rehab in Chicago explains the many risks that pregnancy and addiction can pose for women and their newborn babies.

Different Substances and the Damage They Can Cause

During pregnancy, the mother and fetus share the same umbilical cord and placenta, meaning that the drugs will affect the unborn child as well as the mother. The severity of these effects is dependent on the drugs that are abused and the frequency of use.


Some research has shown a link between prenatal marijuana usage and certain health concerns. There is still ample research that needs to be done regarding the risks of smoking marijuana during pregnancy.2 That being said, using it can ultimately lead to lowered inhibitions and even the increased use of other, more dangerous substances like tobacco.


Cocaine and pregnancy are an incredibly dangerous mix. Cocaine use increases the likelihood of stillbirth or miscarriage, along with premature labor. Even more concerning are the risks of deformity that the baby faces. Some examples include brain damage, genital abnormalities, sudden infant death syndrome, and behavioral problems that can affect them for years to come.


Opioid use during pregnancy presents a number of its own risks, the most concerning of which is that the baby could be born with an addiction themselves. This, in turn, would lead them to experience intense withdrawals that can be life-threatening. Additionally, if the mother shares needles to ingest the drug, she should be tested for hepatitis and HIV.

Health Risks for the Mother and Baby

With a baby on the way, you want your child to be born with as few health concerns as possible. Most of what you consume will be passed on to the fetus, and illegal drugs are especially harmful to a developing baby. A pregnant woman who suffers from substance abuse can cause their newborn baby to be dependent on drugs once they are born. The long-term health effects can be very severe and detrimental.

Because a fetus is very sensitive to drugs, it can’t eliminate the illegal substances as well as the mother can. This can permanently damage the baby, as the chemicals can rise to dangerously high levels.1 The dangers associated with addiction and pregnancy include:

  • Premature births
  • Drug dependency for the baby
  • Birth defects
  • Sudden infant death syndrome
  • Miscarriages

Addiction is a devastating disease that can drastically affect the person suffering from it and their loved ones. Nowhere is this truer than in situations regarding pregnancy. The baby relies on the mother’s choices. Not addressing an addiction right away can result in lifelong consequences that will follow the child for the rest of their life.

Find Recovery at Our Rehab in Chicago

If you are struggling with addiction and you are pregnant, it’s time to get the help you need. Because of the many health risks associated with addiction and pregnancy, it’s critical that the mother breaks this unhealthy habit as soon as possible. Individuals who previously had an addiction problem before pregnancy may find it extremely hard to quit cold turkey during their pregnancy. This is why the treatment programs at our Chicago drug rehab are so important.

Patients are able to enter into one of our effective care levels, during which they have access to a variety of life-changing therapy methods. These sessions set the tone for the patient’s recovery, providing them with a safe space to explore their trauma, addiction, and any consequences that resulted from their substance abuse. This gives them a chance to heal and become the person that they have the potential to be.

Contact Banyan’s Chicago addiction treatment center today at 888-280-4763 to learn more about how we can help you achieve recovery and long-lasting sobriety.


  1. Healthline - Alcohol, Drugs, and Babies: Do You Need to Worry?
  2. CDC - Substance Use During Pregnancy

Related Reading

How Heroin Affects Pregnancy

Your Drugs Can Make Your Baby an Addict

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.