High-Risk Newborns - Substance Exposure

During pregnancy, nearly every substance taken by a woman passes from her blood stream through the placenta to her fetus. Substances that cause drug dependence and addiction in the mother also cause the fetus to become addicted.

When a mother uses illicit substances, including legal drugs such as alcohol and cigarettes, she places her unborn baby at risk for many problems. Many substances affect fetal growth and development, as well as the long-term health of the baby. A mother using drugs may be less likely to seek prenatal care, which can increase the risks for her and her baby. In addition, women who use drugs are more likely to use more than one drug, which can complicate the treatment. The risk of contracting HIV and AIDS is also greater among intravenous (IV) drug users.

Babies affected by substance abuse in mothers require clinical care by a physician or other healthcare professional. Listed in the directory below is some additional information regarding substance abuse, for which we have provided a brief overview.

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