Pregnancy

It's important to be mindful that anything you eat, drink, inhale or are exposed to may affect the development of your baby.

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OVERVIEW 

+ Deciding whether to become pregnant

If you are thinking about getting pregnant, it can be hard to know when the right time is, or how you might prepare for such a big change.

Things to consider:

  • Are you ready for the financial, emotional, and time commitment of parenthood?
  • Is your partner ready to start a family?
  • Have you discussed any potential health issues with your doctor?

If you decide that you're not ready to become pregnant, talk to your health care provider about the best methods of family planning (e.g. birth control) for you and your partner until you are ready to become pregnant.

+ Preparing for Pregnancy

Meet with Your Healthcare Provider

  • If you're considering getting pregnant, talk to your health care provider to discuss your plans and overall health.
  • Talk to your health care provider about all alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, drugs, medications and supplements you are taking. Discuss ways to stop or reduce use of anything that could negatively affect you or your baby.

Talk to Your Partner

  • Your partner’s use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana or drugs may affect you and your baby, too. Secondhand smoke can pose health risks to a pregnant mom and her developing child. Plus, it can be harder to quit if your partner continues using. Talk to your partner about their use and ask for their support.

Evaluate Your Living Space

Think about your life and current surroundings. Start making the necessary changes now to prepare for pregnancy and having a baby.

+ While Pregnant

It’s more important than ever to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally while you are pregnant.

Prenatal Care & Nutrition

Good prenatal care, nutrition and prenatal vitamins are essential for mom and baby. Seek prenatal care early and talk with your doctor about what vitamins to take, what to eat, what foods to avoid, and other tips for a healthy pregnancy. Taking care of your overall health and well-being can help make your pregnancy healthier and more enjoyable!

Substance Use While Pregnant

  • Anything you eat, drink, smoke or are exposed to may affect your baby. Exposure to some substances may result in permanent damage. Talk to your health care provider about all alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, drugs, medications, caffeine and supplements you are taking. Review ways to stop or reduce use of anything that may affect you or your baby.
  • Specific risks to your baby of being exposed to alcohol, marijuana or drugs depend on many factors, such as what, when and how often it is used. Genetics, nutrition, overall health and surroundings can also affect your baby.
  • Potential risks of substance use while pregnant include: miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight, premature birth, birth defects, developmental delays, learning issues and medical complications.
  • If you are pregnant or a mother with young children, you are a priority for drug and alcohol treatment. Treatment is available, and you can bring your kids. Your treatment will be confidential and nonjudgmental. Medicaid/sliding scale fees. Learn more at Mother’s Connection.

Mental Health

Pregnancy-related depression is the most common complication of pregnancy. Untreated depression may be harmful to you and your baby. If you feel sad or hopeless, you are not alone and treatment is available. Talk to your health care provider about how you are feeling emotionally as well as physically.

+ For Expectant Partners

It Takes Two

Your use of alcohol, tobacco (including secondhand smoke), marijuana or drugs can negatively affect your partner and your developing baby. It may be harder for your partner to quit using if you continue to use. Talk to your partner about your use and make a plan together to support the healthy development of your baby.

Ask for Help

Pregnancy can be a stressful time for partners too. There are lots of resources available for you, your partner, and your family. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Find out what assistance is available to meet your family’s needs and get the support you need. Every parent needs a little help sometimes.

+ Information & Resources

Start planning for the future by learning more about caring for children responsibly. Click on the topics below for more information.

American Pregnancy Association - Learn more about your unborn child’s growth and development.

Centers for Disease Control - A guide to planning for pregnacy.

Health One - Advice for staying healthy while pregnant.

March of Dimes - Information on the specific effects of alcohol, drugs, tobacco, medications and supplements on your baby.

Mother's Connection - Support and resources for mothers struggling with addiction.

Zero to Three - A guide to early child development and wellbeing.

Call 1-800-CHILDREN (244-5373) or 1-866-LAS-FAMILIAS (527-3264) for free, confidential help finding drug treatment, parenting support, medical care, social and family service agencies, and many other resources. Learn more.

Related Topics

 

Substance Use & Pregnancy

Click on a substance to learn more.

Alcohol

When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, so does her baby. There is no known safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy or while trying to get pregnant. All types of alcohol are considered equally harmful. Alcohol can cause problems for a developing baby even before a woman knows she is pregnant, as well as throughout her pregnancy.

Tobacco

Women over 35 who smoke can take twice as long to conceive. Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke puts a mother and her developing baby at risk. Try to arrange and encourage smoke-free surroundings for pregnant moms and their babies. For those who do smoke, talk to a health care provider about healthier alternatives or assistance with quitting.

Marijuana

There is no known safe amount of marijuana use during pregnancy. Using marijuana in any form (smoked, vaporized or eaten) while pregnant passes THC on to the baby. Marijuana can harm a developing baby and may cause behavior and learning problems, especially as the child grows older. Children exposed to marijuana may have difficulties paying attention, learning and performing well in school. Just like tobacco, the chemicals in marijuana smoke and secondhand smoke may harm a pregnant mother and her baby. If you use marijuana for medical purposes, discuss the risks, benefits and any possible alternatives with your doctor.

 

Street Drugs

Street drugs, also called illegal or illicit drugs, are harmful to a mother and her baby. Because of these risks, drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and other club drugs should not be used at all during pregnancy. If any type of street drugs have been used during pregnancy, talk to a doctor or get treatment right away.

Household Chemicals

Caffeine intake should be limited to 200mg (approximately one 8 oz. cup of brewed coffee) per day during pregnancy. Remember, caffeine is not just in tea and coffee. It can be found in chocolate, soda, energy drinks and many over-the-counter medications.

Medications

Any use of prescription or over the counter medication for non-medical purposes is a concern. It is also risky to take any prescription drugs not prescribed to you or for a purpose for which they were not prescribed.