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Underbelly: How Pregnancy and Drugs Don’t Mix

With close to half of Australians having used recreational drugs at some point in their lives, it’s unfortunately not surprising that more and more babies are becoming the victims to this growing problem.Recent research linking birth records to hospital data indicates that the number of babies experiencing drug related problems has risen by 45% since 1995. Pregnancy is a time of great change in almost every woman’s life. If you are pregnant or considering having a baby, it is important to take into account the type of drugs you are taking and how they may affect you and your baby. Fortunately, many mothers consider this however many women don’t. Pregnant women who use drugs are most likely to be younger, unmarried, Australian-born and indigenous.Any form of illegal drugs can disrupt the vital supply of oxygen and nutrients to the baby, which can result in restrictions to the foetus’ growth and in rare cases: premature birth, miscarriage and still birth. The placenta filters out most harmful substances ingested by the mother, however it does not filter out products such as drugs and alcohol. This is why it is of the utmost importance that a woman avoids these substances during pregnancy.
Being the most popular drug among Australians, cannabis is also the most commonly used illicit drug amongst women of reproductive age or those who are pregnant.Cannabis use can have several detrimental effects of a developing baby. THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, is known to pass from the mother to the baby via the placenta. Cocaine is also a popular drug among Australians with 7.3% of Australians 14 and over have used cocaine at some stage in their life. Cocaine can have several detrimental effects such as Increasing the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, stillbirth, decreased birth weight, prematurity and decreased foetal growth. Due to these deleterious effects of recreational drugs, many health professionals are advising against the use of…

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