Recreational and Narcotic Drug Use During Pregnancy

Dr. Karen Buhler, family physician, discusses the effects of drugs on pregnancy.

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Dr. Karen Buhler, family physician, discusses the effects of drugs on pregnancy.
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Featuring Dr. Karen Buhler, MD, CCFP

Duration: 2 minutes, 12 seconds

Marijuana can cause long-term problems for the baby and their general health, and can cause prematurity.

Cocaine and crystal meth, or methamphetamine, also cause serious problems in the pregnancy. They have a high chance of causing a placental abruption, which is where the placenta separates from the uterus and suddenly the blood supply to the baby is lost. This can be quite serious and lead to death of the baby or premature labor.

The other thing about narcotics is the lifestyle that they're associated with. Using needles, or being with a partner who uses needles, is putting you and your baby at risk for sexually transmitted infections or blood born infections like HIV and hepatitis B, and C.

If you are or you know someone who is taking narcotics in pregnancy, it's important to know that these should not be stopped suddenly. You need to seek help from a care provider, and be honest with them about your problem because they can help you and the baby get healthier.

Narcotic withdrawal needs to be managed very carefully while you're pregnant to avoid the chance of going into labor suddenly and at too early.

If you have questions about drug use during pregnancy, contact a local family physician, obstetrician or midwife.

Presenter: Dr. Karen Buhler