If you smoke while pregnant:
- You have an increased risk of miscarriage.
- Your baby is more likely to be born early and underweight (both of which pose serious health risks).
- Your baby may develop physical and mental defects.
There are community services to help pregnant women quit smoking. Look under Community Resources in the right-hand column of this page or ask your doctor or midwife. It’s never too late to quit.
Alcohol Can Damage Your Baby’s Brain
- Any alcohol you consume passes through the placenta to your baby. When you drink alcohol, so does your baby.
- Fetal alcohol syndrome, the result of alcohol exposure in the womb, can cause your baby serious mental and physical defects.
Because there is no known safe amount for alcohol consumption during pregnancy, it is best to avoid alcohol completely. If you need assistance with changing your alcohol consumption behaviours, ask your doctor or look for support and treatment centres under Community Resources. It’s never too late to quit.
Dangers of Illegal Drugs
- Marijuana contains tar, which produces carbon monoxide and threatens the health of your baby in the same way cigarettes do.
- Street drugs such as cocaine, heroine, methamphetamines, ecstasy, and others, pose dangerous threats to your health and the health of your baby.
Women who use street drugs should talk to a doctor about how they can make lifestyle changes. There are many support resources that can help with detox, treatment, and counselling.
- Stop taking oral birth control if you suspect you may be pregnant.
- It is best to limit caffeine consumption while pregnant. A developing baby cannot process caffeine, especially in large amounts.
- Talk to your doctor or midwife about the safety of any prescription and/or over-the-counter drugs.
- Ask a dietitian about the safety of any nutritional supplements or herbal remedies you use.
Did you know...
Drinking alcohol while you are pregnant can cause your baby brain damage and create severe mental and emotional difficulties that will last the rest of your child’s life. The effects of alcohol on a fetus vary, depending on the amount and frequency of the pregnant woman's drinking and the fetus's stage of development.
A woman who stops drinking alcohol at any time during her pregnancy will help her baby. It’s not too late.
For more information, visit the HealthLink BC file on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).