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Heroin Use and Pregnancy

How Does Heroin Use and Addiction Affect Pregnancy?

It doesn't matter what type of drug is used during pregnancy it can be dangerous. Abusing drugs like heroin increases a woman's risk of complications taking place during her pregnancy. When a mother uses heroin during pregnancy her unborn child is at risk of addiction, withdrawal symptoms, serious health problems, and death due to her use.

Serious Consequences Due to Heroin Use During Pregnancy

  • Possible miscarriage
  • Poor fetal growth
  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Developmental delays
  • Breathing problems
  • HIV
  • Hepatitis C
  • Addiction
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Lifelong disabilities

Consequences also include serious health problems during newborn stage, the bag of water can rupture prematurely and result in premature birth or stillbirth and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Studies that have been done also suggest that the effects of substance use during pregnancy might not even show up until later in childhood. Some studies also suggest that children that are exposed to heroin before they're born have an increased risk of learning and behavioral problems also.


Mothers who abuse heroin during their pregnancy don't eat right, sleep right, and experience emotional problems like depression or anxiety. Due to the mothers own impaired health from heroin use the fetus is growing inside an unhealthy mother to begin with. Combining this with a toxic and dangerous drug like heroin which is a drug that no one is ever sure what it consists of, just increases the serious and dangerous consequences of heroin use.


Heroin is a very powerful and addictive drug and if a mother exposes her unborn child to this drug during pregnancy, the baby will require treatment for the withdrawal symptoms the infant will experience after it's born. The length of time a baby has been exposed to heroin in the womb and dose of heroin used makes a difference with the symptoms of withdrawal the newborn can experience. The heavier the dose of heroin and the longer they've been exposed in the womb, the more severe the withdrawal symptoms will be.

The withdrawal symptoms a newborn that's addicted to heroin can experience include:


Quitting Heroin Use During Pregnancy

If a woman is a heroin user they should never stop suddenly on their own, they should always seek medical advice and treatment from their health care provider.


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