Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco While Pregnant

Avoid alcohol, drugs, and tobacco during your pregnancy. Learn about the effects they can have on you and your unborn baby and get information on resources available to help you quit.

When You Take Drugs, Your Baby Takes Drugs

When you use drugs during pregnancy, it is carried through your blood to your baby. No one knows how much of a drug will harm your baby but the more you use, the higher the risk. Stay away from street drugs like marijuana, cocaine, heroin, speed, methamphetamine (“crystal meth”), ecstasy, barbiturates, and LSD. They are very dangerous for you and for the growth and health of your baby.

Drugs can cause a baby to:

  • Be born too soon (premature) which can lead to trouble breathing, eating, and growing
  • Have bleeding in the brain before birth, which causes brain damage
  • Have withdrawal symptoms
  • Be very fussy
  • Have trouble learning

It is hard to be a good parent if you use drugs or alcohol. There are places that can help you if you are addicted and can’t quit. Ask for help by talking to:

Quit Smoking

Smoking is harmful to you and your baby. Each time you smoke, you decrease your baby’s oxygen supply. Smoking also exposes your baby to harmful chemicals such as tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide.

Quitting smoking during pregnancy has benefits for both you and your baby. You have less of a chance of vaginal bleeding, miscarriage or stillbirth (when a baby is born dead). Your baby has a better chance of being born at a healthy weight and less of a chance of having learning and health problems later in life.

Help is Available

Quitting smoking is not easy. There is free help available for pregnant women in Washington State. By calling the Washington State Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-784-8669 (QUIT-NOW) you double your chance of quitting. If you are on First Steps (Pregnancy Medicaid or medical coupon) you may have additional benefits. To learn more, call the Quit Line. Read more about quitting while pregnant.

Alcohol Is Not Safe During Pregnancy

Drinking any amount of alcohol while you are pregnant is not safe. Alcohol can harm your baby’s brain and body development. Drinking while you are pregnant can cause mental retardation, cause your baby to be born too early (premature), have breathing problems, infections, and can cause Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

Information about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Call the The Alcohol/Drug Help Line: 1-800-562-1240 for help on quitting. Learn more on the ADHL website.

Pregnant women eating an apple