Smoking, drinking alcohol, and using drugs can harm an unborn baby. If you get pregnant, it is important to stop using these substances right away. If you need help, talk to a nurse at your local health centre.
Cigarette smoke makes it harder for unborn babies to breathe and grow properly, and increases the risk of miscarriage. Quit smoking and avoid people who smoke, so your baby can:
- Be born at the right time—not too early
- Have a healthy birth weight—not too small
- Have lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Have lower risk of breathing problems
- Have lower risk of ear infections.
Do not drink any alcohol when you are pregnant. Unborn babies exposed to alcohol are at risk for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder [FASD].
FASD is a term that describes a range of effects that a baby may experience if a mother drinks during pregnancy. These effects may include physical, mental, behavioural, and/or learning disabilities. These effects last a lifetime, and are totally preventable, and they do not need to happen.
If you drink alcohol and discover you are pregnant, stop right away. There is no safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy, but don’t panic. Stop drinking as soon as you know you are pregnant, and talk to a doctor or nurse.
Tell your health care provider about any medication you take and how often.
- Illegal drugs—heroine, marijuana, cocaine, meth, etc.
- Legal and prescription drugs
- Herbal supplements and vitamins
Some drugs harm unborn babies. Other drugs harm babies after birth, through the mother’s breast milk.
Some people who use alcohol, tobacco, and drugs have a hard time stopping.
If you or someone you know has trouble quitting smoking, drinking or drugs, there is help and support. Talk to your health care provider, mental health nurse, or social worker.
You can also contact: