Most harmful drugs to take when pregnant

January 12, 2010

Here are some of the most harmful medications or chemicals that can harm your unborn baby. Most of these drugs do the most damage when taken during the first three months of pregnancy.

  1. Alcohol. Drink a glass of any alcoholic beverage, and your baby-to-be gets a dose of alcohol. Heavy drinking, especially early in the pregnancy, dramatically increases the baby’s risk of FAS (fetal alcohol syndrome). A small skull, distorted facial features, heart problems, and mental retardation are the main signs in the cluster of problems known as FAS. Source: Mayo Clinic.
  2. Tobacco. A woman who smokes during her pregnancy is more likely to give birth to a baby that is underweight and is born too early. Congentical heart defects,  nervousness, birthing problems. Source: March of  Dimes.
  3. Teratogens. Some drugs can act as teratogens, a body chemical that can stop or slow growth of the unborn baby. Brand name examples include Lotensin, Capoten, Vasotec, Zestril, Monopril, Accupril, Altace, Isoretonin (for acne), Achromycin (tetracycline), Coumadin (warfarin), Dilatin, Tridione, Thalidomide  Source: Medicine Net.
  4. Aspirin. Aspirin and other OTC (over-the-counter) drugs taken during pregnancy can cause serious problems. The biggest villain in this category is aspirin. Motrin, Advil, and other drugs that block the production of prostaglandins can lead to the threat of death from resulting blood problems, especially when taken late in the pregnancy.
  5. Street drugs. All illicit drugs, from marijuana to heroin should be avoided not only throughout pregnancy but throughout a lifetime. Some of these drugs appear in prescription medications for specialized use. Here are some common drugs and their possible effects on the unborn baby:
    • Amphetamines —Heart defects. 
    • Cocaine— Bleeding, stillbirth, growth retardation, birth detects.
    • Marijuana— Low birth weight. 
    • Narcotics (heroin) — Growth problems, premature labor, narcotic withdrawal after birth, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
    • Tranquilizers (Valium) — Birth defects, withdrawal symptoms.
    • Glues and solvents — Low birth weight, short height, joint and limb problems, heart deffects, abnormal facial features.
    • Ecstasy —Long-term learning and memory problems.                                                      Source: Cleveland Clinics

 Experts agree: Whatever you eat or drink while you are pregnant, whether you know it or not, is food and drink for your unborn baby.

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