Addiction and its Effects on Pregnancy

When I was pregnant the last time, I was in a full-blown addiction. I was more worried about getting my next fix than the unborn child in my stomach. I was in a self-destructive mode and was not concerned with the growing baby. I had no idea what my addiction was causing my unborn baby. Today, I know that my addiction affected my baby’s life. 

Babies affected by addiction

Addiction is rising, and babies are born with severe illnesses because a mother chooses to use drugs. Do you ever wonder how many mothers use drugs during their pregnancy? The annual amount of mothers using while pregnant ranges from 120,000 using marijuana. There are 95,000 using alcohol, while 49,000 use illicit drugs. In 2003 there were 5,000 babies born dependent on drugs. By 2013 there was an increase to 27,000 babies born dependent. Every drug, alcohol, and tobacco product we put in our bodies while pregnant affects the unborn baby. 

Addiction effects to babies

If you stop for a second, do you wonder how these babies’ lives will be affected throughout their lives because of addiction? There is a chance that some babies will never make it into the world because of miscarriage or stillbirth.  What happens to the other babies that do make it? There are chances that babies will be diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). At least 21,732 were diagnosed with NAS in 2012. How about fetal alcohol syndrome? A mother who takes the chance to use drugs is taking the opportunity of letting their unborn baby be born with developmental problems, low-birth weight, and behavioral problems. These effects do not stop here; there could be congenital disabilities to the circumference of their head and mouth, lip problems, and organ failure. Effects do not stop there; babies can have organ failure, skin problems, and holding the right body temp. 


Let me stop and say that if you’re using and pregnant, there is help for you. You are not alone in this walk. Your baby’s life depends on you turning your life around. Let us stop the rise of babies being born addicted to drugs. 

Center for Disease Control & Prevention (2019). Addiction and Pregnancy: A Guide for Mothers.

Written by: Melissa Pena