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How Does Heroin Use Affect Pregnancy?

A pregnant young woman holds her hands in the shape of a heart on her belly while sitting cross-legged on a couch.
Lean more about heroin birth defects and the effects it has on an unborn baby.

If you’re reading this, you almost certainly know that it’s a very bad idea to use heroin while pregnant. But what you probably want to know is exactly how heroin will affect your unborn baby and if it can cause birth defects.

While nobody can predict precisely what will happen in your individual circumstances, there are definite things we know to be true about heroin use during pregnancy.

Heroin Effects on Baby

According to the March of Dimes, using heroin during pregnancy can cause the following problems:

  • Premature birth – When a baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Stillbirth – Occurs when a baby dies in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Neonatal abstinence syndrome – Occurs when the baby experiences withdrawal after birth.
  • Placental abruption – This term describes when the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus. It can cause heavy bleeding and even death for both mother and child.
  • Heroin birth defects – These can range in severity from mild to severe.

Preventing Heroin Birth Defects

If you’re pregnant and using heroin, what you don’t want to do is to quit cold turkey. Stopping heroin abruptly can be dangerous. What you should do is consult your doctor immediately and have a conversation about the best way to manage the rest of your pregnancy in the best way possible for both you and your baby.

Hope and Healing at The Raleigh House

At The Raleigh House, we see people get better all the time. To us, that means not just getting off of heroin, but also working to become healthy, happy and whole. Each person who walks through our doors is assigned a Master’s level therapist to assist in that journey. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the heroin addiction treatment program at The Raleigh House.

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