Cocaine in pregnancy

Cocaine is a narcotic substance that acts on our nervous system.

The ;coke; it is also used as a recreational drug as, by affecting the balance of certain chemicals in the brain, it causes changes in our mood and behavior.

Is it safe to use cocaine during pregnancy?

Cocaine taken by a pregnant woman enters her bloodstream, crosses the placenta and reaches the fetus. It also collects in the liquid around the baby, and he absorbs it through her skin. Since fetuses continuously ingest this fluid, they also swallow cocaine. This reaches her heart, her brain and other organs of her.

Several scientific studies suggest that taking cocaine during pregnancy can increase the risk of stillbirth and the risk of premature and/or underweight births. Therefore, cocaine should not be taken during pregnancy.

What if I had already used cocaine during pregnancy?

If you are pregnant and using cocaine, you should talk to your doctor or midwife. They will be able to help you and give you support to stop taking it safely. Regular cocaine users and those who feel addicted to it should not stop or reduce the amount taken without medical guidance. This is because it could lead to the typical signs and symptoms of a withdrawal which could be dangerous for both the mother and the baby.

Can taking cocaine while pregnant lead to birth defects?

Cocaine affects blood vessels by reducing blood flow. For this reason, there have been concerns that cocaine in pregnancy may cause birth defects related to blood flow in the developing baby.

There have been some isolated reports of babies with these birth defects born to mothers who used cocaine during pregnancy.

A large study that analyzed information from 16 previous studies found that compared to those born to mothers who had not taken drugs, babies born to women who used cocaine during pregnancy were more likely to have birth defects.

However, birth defects were also more common in children born to women who had used other types of recreational drugs.

All of this suggests that the defects observed in this study may not have been caused specifically by cocaine, but could have been caused by some factors related to the lifestyles of pregnant women who use recreational drugs (e.g., smoking). , alcohol consumption, poor diet, poor health).

Therefore, more research is needed to determine whether cocaine in pregnancy can cause birth defects in the baby.

Can taking cocaine while pregnant cause a miscarriage?

Some studies have demonstrated the existence of a link between taking cocaine during pregnancy and an increased risk of miscarriage. However, other studies have not come to the same conclusions, and it is currently unclear whether cocaine in pregnancy increases the chance of miscarriages.

Can cocaine cause stillbirth during pregnancy?

An increased risk of stillbirth has been linked to cocaine use during pregnancy.
It has also been shown that placental abruption (placenta detaching from the uterus before the baby is born) is more likely to occur in women who take cocaine during pregnancy. This detachment can be very serious and can lead to the death of both the mother and the child.

Can cocaine taken during pregnancy cause premature birth and low birth weight?

Current scientific evidence suggests that cocaine use in pregnancy may be related to premature delivery (<37 weeks of pregnancy) and low birth weight (<2500 g) of the baby.

Taking it during pregnancy appears to reduce the rate at which a baby grows in the womb, possibly due to reduced blood flow through the placenta.

Poor growth of the fetus in the womb has been linked to health problems later in the baby’s life.

Can taking cocaine while pregnant cause other health problems for the baby?

Withdrawal symptoms at birth (neonatal abstinence).

The clinical signs and symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome (SAN) are thought to occur when the newborn’s body has to adapt to no longer receiving (via the placenta) addictive substances.

There are studies that have shown that cocaine in pregnancy can cause withdrawal symptoms in the baby at birth. Therefore, if you took cocaine in the weeks before giving birth, your baby may need closer monitoring and/or supportive treatment for a few days after birth. Therefore it is important that you tell your doctor or midwife if you have used cocaine, so that if necessary they can organize; a unit that can monitor and treat withdrawal symptoms when your baby is born.

Growth in childhood.

A scientific study has shown that those children who were exposed (in utero) to cocaine early in pregnancy were on average smaller by the age of seven to ten than those not exposed to cocaine. This suggests that cocaine may have lasting effects on the baby who was exposed to it in utero.

Learning or behavioral problems
The fetal brain continues to develop until the end of pregnancy. It is therefore possible that exposure to certain substances at any stage of pregnancy may have lasting effects on the child’s learning and behaviour.

Cocaine affects the balance of ;mood chemicals; in the brain. The concerns of those who think that cocaine during pregnancy may also have an impact on the developing brain of the unborn child are therefore well founded.

Several studies have shown that, compared to children whose mothers had not taken it during their pregnancy, children whose mothers had taken cocaine were more likely to have thinking, learning and behavior problems.

One study showed that the more cocaine a pregnant mother consumed, the more likely her baby was to have problems.

However, other studies have not identified problems in children exposed to cocaine in utero.

It is very difficult to compare the different scientific studies on learning and behavioral problems in children exposed to a particular substance in utero.

The various studies often investigate different learning or behavioral problems, or use different metrics to identify some problem.
Their results cannot therefore always be directly compared.

Also, some studies have only looked at young children. Therefore, we don’t know if compared to any observed problems, these children ;grow; or if they show more problems with learning or behaviors as they get older.

Will my baby need closer monitoring during pregnancy?

Most women, as part of their routine prenatal care, are offered a scan around the 20th week of their pregnancy to monitor the baby’s growth and to look for possible birth defects.

If you have used cocaine while pregnant, it is best for you and your baby to talk to your doctor or midwife as soon as possible.
They will be able to make sure that you and your child are eligible for more monitoring or support if needed.

Is there any risk to my child if the father uses cocaine?

No study has specifically analyzed whether, through its effects on sperm, cocaine taken by the father could harm the child. However most experts agree that this is highly unlikely.
However, more research is needed on the effects of drugs and medicines taken by men during the period of conception.

Who can I speak to if I have questions?

If you have any questions about the topics covered, discuss them with your doctor.

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform,

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