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NIDA. (1994, January 1). Women and Drug Abuse. Retrieved from

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A Mother Who Uses Drugs Risks Her Life And Her Baby's

A mother who uses drugs endangers her life and her baby's

When a pregnant woman uses drugs, she and her unborn child face serious health problems. During pregnancy, the drugs used by the mother can enter the baby's bloodstream. The most serious effects on the baby can be HIV infection, AIDS, prematurity, low birth weight, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, small head size, stunted growth, poor motor skills, and behavior problems.

A mother's continuing drug use puts her children at risk for neglect, physical abuse, and malnutrition.

However, NIDA research shows that providing care and treatment to the pregnant drug abuser can reduce many of the negative effects on her baby.

Health Risks Associated with Drug Abuse

Mother Baby

Poor Nutrition

High Blood Pressure

Rapid Heart Beat

Low Weight Gain

Low Self Esteem

Preterm Labor

Sexually Transmitted Disease

Early Delivery



Physical Abuse


Low Birth Weight


Small Head Size

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Birth Defects

Stunted Growth

Poor Motor Skills


Learning Disabilities

Neurological Problems