Alcohol, Smoking and Drugs: What to Avoid During Your Unplanned Pregnancy

When facing an unplanned pregnancy, it is incredibly difficult to be thrust into a situation you didn’t expect to be. It can be overwhelming and scary to sort through all the medical care recommendations, amidst also navigating the adoption process. If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and feel like you aren’t prepared, it’s ok. That’s natural. We are here to help.

During this time, it is important to do your best to care for yourself and your child. This involves everything from medical check ups to utilizing the free counseling services offered at Adoption Choices of Colorado. From reaching out to loved ones to taking extra care with what you do and don’t consume. Since your baby gets nourishment directly from your bloodstream, it is super important to be mindful of what sorts of substances you usually consume, and to be informed about what to avoid during your unplanned pregnancy for the health and safety of yourself and your child.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information within this blog is for informational and educational purposes only, not medical advice. Be sure to consult with your OBGYN and primary care provider if you have any questions or concerns about your pregnancy journey.

Abstain from Alcohol

Alcohol can interfere with your developing baby’s growth and cause birth defects, so not drinking at all is recommended. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is the most severe issue caused as a result of mothers drinking during pregnancy and can include mental disability, behavioral issues, abnormal facial features and growth problems. Your baby is especially vulnerable to the impacts of substances, so it is important to put off alcohol consumption until your child is born.

Quit Smoking

For birth mothers who are smokers, it is important to understand the impacts that smoking can have on your child. Babies born to birth mothers who smoked during pregnancy are at a risk for low birth weight, birth defects, colic, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and asthma and obesity later in life. In order to prevent nicotine’s lasting health effects on your child, it is important to stop smoking at least through your pregnancy. 

Nicotine addiction can be hard to break out of if you are used to smoking regularly. Many birth mothers are curious about e-cigarettes or other tobacco products as alternatives to smoking. Unfortunately, nicotine still gets into your system and into your uterus, which can still affect your child. Nicotine, as a chemical, does lasting damage to your baby’s brain and lungs. It also causes your blood vessels to constrict so that less oxygen and nutrients actually reach the baby. Reach out to your doctor in regards to getting support in quitting smoking for your pregnancy.

Eliminate the Use of Other Drugs

You may be curious as to what to avoid during your unplanned pregnancy when it comes to other substances beyond alcohol and nicotine. Knowing the impacts that drugs have on your developing child is important to supporting yourself in your commitment to avoiding them. Marijuana usage during pregnancy has been linked to attention and behavioral problems in children. Furthermore, some research points to an increased risk of stillbirth in mothers who were consuming marijuana during their pregnancy.

Similarly, the use of illicit drugs including methamphetamines, cocaine or illegal prescription painkillers can have long lasting impacts on your child’s health. Illegal drugs negatively impact the growth of your baby, and can lead to preterm birth and fetal death. Drug usage by birth mothers is linked to a variety of long term mental and physical health problems in children so it is important to avoid these substances entirely. 

Addiction Treatment Services

If you are struggling with addiction of any sort, it is important to understand that there is help out there to assist you in quitting smoking, staying sober, etc. Addiction is a serious illness and must be treated as such. There is no shame in getting the help you need during this time for your own health and for the health and wellbeing of your child. 

At the end of this blog, there are several resources linked for those struggling with addiction in the Colorado area. Get the support of your doctor and medical providers and take advantage of the free counseling offered by Adoption Choices to help you through this time. Reach out to family and friends who can support you and take advantage of whatever addiction specific counseling and support group services are available to you. You are incredibly brave and strong for undertaking this journey, and Adoption Choices Colorado wants to support you every step of the way. 

Alcohol, Smoking, and Drugs: What to Avoid During Your Unplanned Pregnancy

As a birth mother, you have the huge responsibility of being the source of nourishment for the baby growing inside you. Your baby is very sensitive to substances of all sorts and can have a myriad of long-term health issues if you are consuming alcohol, nicotine and/or other drugs during your unplanned pregnancy. It is important to completely abstain from all alcohol, smoking, marijuana (medical or otherwise), illegal drugs and non-prescribed substances during this time. 

If you are struggling with addiction, there is no shame in getting help. It is a brave and important step to get the medical care you need to take care of yourself and to provide your child with a long, healthy and happy life. 

If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and want to learn more about your adoption options, contact Adoption Choices of Colorado by email, phone, or text: Email Us, Call us: 720-371-1099, Call or Text us: 303-670-4673 (HOPE). If you are hoping to adopt, please contact us here.

Meet the AuthorKara Bringewatt is an English major and psychology minor at Queens University of CharlotteShe plans to get her masters in social work and work at a nonprofit as a case manager for at-risk youth. She loves using writing as a means of creating community and bringing attention to causes she’s passionate about. 

Kara is particularly interested in educational and mental health interventions for young people in foster care. She’s worked as a tutor, professional caregiver, preschool teacher and acting instructor, and loves being able to utilize her wide range of passions to support young people and plans on being a foster and adoptive parent. 


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