Becoming a parent can be one of the most exciting and overwhelming things you ever do.
All of a sudden you’re responsible for the life of someone else, someone who is almost entirely dependent on you for their wellbeing. The choices you make can greatly impact your child’s life, and it all starts when you get pregnant.
Many ‘soon to be’ young mums use the news of a pregnancy to make important changes in their life. In order to reduce any potential risks to your baby’s health, it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Research shows that using drugs during this time can harm your child’s growth, brain development and other health complications.
By drugs we mean:
- Illegal drugs such as pot, amphetamines, cocaine, ecstasy, GHB, hallucinogens and heroin
- Prescription medicine
- Over the counter medications such as cough medicine, painkillers or cold & flu tablets
- Natural supplements you buy at a health food shop such as herbs and vitamins
- Traditional herbal medicines
How much is safe?
How much alcohol is safe to consume while you’re pregnant is a topic that is often discussed in the media. It’s a fact that binge drinking or prolonged drinking during pregnancy/breastfeeding can be very damaging to your baby, however it’s unknown what the ‘safe’ level of alcohol consumption is for pregnant or breastfeeding women. It’s for this reason that experts recommend you steer clear of alcohol altogether during this time.
For things like over the counter medicine, prescription medicine or natural remedies, it’s always best to consult your GP, obstetrician or midwife about what's safe and what’s not.
What if I can't quit?
If you have a dependence on drugs or alcohol, it can be very difficult to completely change your lifestyle once you get pregnant. Speak to a health professional as early as possible in the pregnancy if you have a dependence on drugs or alcohol. If you’re unable to quit, it’s important to maintain honest communication with your doctor if you’ve been drinking or taking drugs during your pregnancy. You’re not going to be judged by them, but your baby will need to be carefully monitored during your pregnancy, and it’s something your doctor will need to know. Many hospitals have extra pre-natal support for young women in the same boat as you, and your local area might even have a young mum’s group to share stories with and create some new friendships and support.
Remember that cutting down or stopping your alcohol and other drug use at any stage of your pregnancy, even late pregnancy, will benefit both yours and your baby’s health.
Fopr your safety and your childs don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Call our 24 hour free YoDAA Line: 1800 458 685. or check out our specialist programs for young parents.