Alcohol, drugs and smoking all may harm a developing baby and should be avoided during pregnancy.
Excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), characterized by abnormalities of the face, heart and central nervous system, accompanied by small head size and retardation in growth and mental development. Even moderate drinking may contribute to spontaneous abortion and low birth weight, and produce offspring with more subtle features of FAS.
Many drugs -- ranging from crack to seemingly harmless aspirin -- can be dangerous for the unborn child. Crack, cocaine and other "recreational" drugs can kill an unborn baby or cause any number of major birth defects and/or childhood problems. Many prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs or herbal remedies cross the placenta and may adversely affect a fetus. A pregnant woman should check with her health care provider before using ANY medication.
Cigarette smoking should be avoided completely. Infants of mothers who smoke during pregnancy have proven to be smaller than infants of comparable mothers who do not smoke. Babies of smoking women also experience a higher rate of stillbirth and neonatal death.
Caffeine is found in tea, coffee, soft drinks and chocolate. Too much caffeine may not be safe for your baby.
For more information on birth defects, Robyns Nest encourages you to visit the March of Dimes web site.
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Alcohol, Drugs and Smoking during pregnancy