- Marijuana: Low birth weight, preterm birth, developmental delays, learning disorders
- Cocaine: Miscarriage, placental abruption, birth defects, preterm birth, fetal death, head malformations, learning disabilities
- Heroin: Preterm birth, low birth weight, breathing trouble, brain bleeding, fetal death, addiction
- LSD: Birth defects
- PCP: low birth weight, brain damage, addiction
- Methamphetamine: Low birth weight, premature labor, miscarriage, placental abruption, addiction, learning disabilities
For more information and help contact: National Drug Help Hotline 1-800-662-4357 National Alcohol and Drug Dependence Hopeline 1-800-622-2255 Prescription Drugs Prescription drugs can cause birth defects and complications during pregnancy. Talk with your doctor about eliminating all unnecessary prescription drugs that you are currently taking. Chemical Exposure Determine what chemicals that you are exposed to as you go through your day. Reduce chemical exposure to the minimum amount possible. Remember to list chemicals at work, in any hobbies that you pursue, lawn and garden chemicals, and cleaners used around the home. Stress Stress can negatively impact your fertility. Begin a stress reduction program utilizing whatever techniques appeal to your lifestyle. You might try yoga, mediation, exercise, or crafts. Work on strengthening all your personal relationships. Herbs and Dietary Supplements The food and drug administration does not regulate herbs or dietary supplements, therefore their effects on unborn or nursing children are not known. Discuss with your doctor any herbs or dietary supplements that you are currently taking, and work to eliminate all unnecessary items. Caffeine The concern with caffeine is that is crosses the placenta and may affect the fetus during pregnancy. Studies on animals show that there was a higher occurrence of fetal malformation in pregnant animals that were given caffeine, but this has not been proven in humans. Although it has not been proven, it is recommended that pregnant women eliminate products containing caffeine from their diets. There is an increased risk of miscarriage and low birth weight associated with high doses of caffeine, an amount that can be found in six to ten cups of coffee a day.
If you are accustomed to drinking one or two cups of coffee each morning, there is no solid evidence that it is harmful to your baby, but consider that the caffeine will stimulate your baby the same way it does for you. And your babys liver will not be able to eliminate the caffeine from his system as fast as you can, so he will feel the effects longer, and the effects will be more pronounced.
Here are some tips to try to reduce your intake of caffeine:
- If you drink tea, limit the amount of time that you let it steep, one minute is good.
- Switch to decaffeinated coffee and tea. Select decaf coffee that is water processed not chemically processed.
- Experiment with herbal teas as a substitute, but watch for hidden stimulants. Dont choose teas that claim to energize you.
- Check labels of the products you use, such as cold medicine and headache remedies.
Keep track of how much caffeine you are consuming and reduce the amount slowly to decrease the possibility of caffeine withdrawal. Healthy lifestyle choices Replacing bad habits with healthy lifestyle choices can assist with the elimination of them. Healthy lifestyle choices will not only give your baby the best possible start in life, by modeling healthy lifestyle choices you give your child skills to carry with them throughout their life.
- Exercise—Get your physical self in the best possible condition before you get pregnant. Determine of you want to lose or gain weight, improve muscle tone, or build your endurance and work toward the goal you have set. Good exercises to try are walking, cycling, swimming, and aerobics. Yoga is particularly well suited to those who intend to conceive, as it not only improves the condition of your body, it teaches concentration techniques which can be applied during labor and delivery.
- Education—Read all you can on techniques for labor and delivery, and on childrearing. Everyone has different ideas about what would be the ideal birthing experience. Be prepared to decide how and where you want to labor, whether or not you want pain relief, will you breastfeed, circumcise? Knowing what you want ahead of time allows you to make confident decisions.
- Cycle Tracking—You will be asked information about your menstrual cycles by your doctor, begin tracking it now. If you have had fertility problems, consider tracking your ovulation with kits available on the market to determine when you ovulate.
- Nutrition—Eating a balanced diet full of variety is essential for your overall health. A proper diet will keep your weight in check, supply you with lots of energy and reduce the risk of developing disease. A well balanced diet increases your chances of becoming pregnant and will supply your baby with the needed building blocks for growth. Talk with your doctor about any supplements he recommends that are safe to take during pregnancy.
- Water—Drink lots of water! During pregnancy, a womans blood volume increases dramatically and extra fluids are required to replace them. Drinking enough water can also help prevent the common discomforts during pregnancy, dehydration and constipation.
- Sleep—Make sure that you are getting eight hours of sleep each night. Sleep gives not only your body time to repair itself; it gives your mind time to recharge too.
- Checkup—Have a preconception checkup with your doctor. You will probably have a pap smear, a breast exam and blood tests. You may want to request that you be tested for immunity to measles and chicken pox, and be sure that your immunizations are up to date. You will be asked about your past medical history and your family history to determine if there are things in your history that may warrant further investigation.