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Alcohol, Smoking and Other Drug Use

Alcohol should be avoided completely during pregnancy. Alcohol use has been linked to fetal alcohol syndrome, intellectual disabilities, birth defects and learning disabilities. 

Marijuana (weed, pot) use has also been shown to cause problems in babies whose mothers use it during pregnancy and also while breastfeeding.  These potential problems include:

  • Developmental delays
  • Considerable reduction of brain size and brain development
  • Behavior problems
  • Attention problems

All other non-prescription or illegal drugs should not be used during pregnancy.  These may cause neonatal withdrawal syndrome and may also result in a child with:

  • Developmental delays
  • Brain damage
  • Behavior problems
  • Attention problems

If you are using alcohol or drugs and feel you cannot stop during your pregnancy or while breastfeeding, please have a frank discussion with your healthcare provider as soon as possible.  He or she can help so that you can look forward to a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Smoking and Vaping

A pregnant mother who smokes or is exposed to second-hand smoke risks depriving her fetus of oxygen.  This can lead to a higher risk of miscarriage and a low-birth weight baby. 

Addiction to nicotine is powerful, affecting people both physically and psychologically.  Please talk to your healthcare provider about ways to kick the habit if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

Vaping has been marketed as an alternative to cigarettes that may be safer. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics opposes vaping.  Some reports indicate that the added flavors significantly irritate the lungs.  In addition, infants are at risk for inhaling vapors from vaping devices. Doctors recommend women refrain from vaping or exposure to vapors from vaping devices both during pregnancy and after delivery.

To Find an Obstetrician,
call 215-481-6334

Weekdays 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Preparing for Pregnancy