The ideas and consensus regarding what is appropriate behavior for pregnant women has changed in the world over the course of modern history, and specifically over the course of the past few decades. It is commonly held in modern countries around the world that substance abuse of any kind of drug is harmful and to be avoided during pregnancy. The fetus within the womb and the mother are connected in innumerable ways during pregnancy. This is why it is often said that what happens to the mother during pregnancy, also happens to the fetus. If the mother experiences stress during pregnancy, the fetus experiences stress, too. If the mother is high on cocaine throughout pregnancy, the fetus will ingest cocaine as well, in several ways, but primarily through the umbilical cord. There is little use in denying that abusing drugs during pregnancy will affect the fetus. At this stage in life, the fetus will be affected detrimentally. It is true that illicit substances can hurt the body with little and long-term use, but the affects of drug use upon the fetus during pregnancy are significantly intensified because the fetus is still forming. Substance abuse during pregnancy adversely affects the fetus in a number of ways and the health of the fetus, even the life of the fetus, is in danger when pregnant mothers ingest drugs.
It is somewhat obvious that narcotics are the types of drugs that pregnant women are told during pregnancy. Examples of these drugs are cocaine, crystal meth, and heroin. Pregnancy women should additionally avoid drugs such as marijuana, cigarettes, which contain the drug nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy increases the chances of a fetus contracting fetal alcohol syndrome, and alcohol consumption during pregnancy has long since been proven to be directly related to retardation developing in the fetus. Alcohol is an interesting substance in that for the most part, women are told not to consume it during pregnancy, and yet, in the 21st century, a number of physicians in America, for example, advise pregnant women that moderate consumption of alcohol, in the form of a glass of red wine, is acceptable during certain stages of pregnancy. Whether or not women are advise to drink during pregnancy or not, it would be safer for the fetus if alcohol was avoided completely. (NIH, 2013) More than these kinds of drugs, pregnant mothers have to be careful to avoid abusing prescription drugs.
A number of countries in the world today, including the United States, have seen increase substance abuse of pharmaceuticals. Many pharmaceuticals with the potential for abuse can be acquired legally, as well as illegally. It is important that pregnant mothers and those around them become increasingly sensitive and aware of the many drugs that may even seem a part of the normal culture that will harm the fetus. (Bondi, 2013) Every kind of substance that the mother ingests will affect the fetus, whether it is food, drink, or drugs. This is why it is so important for pregnant mothers to realize what drugs they are taking, legal or illegal, so that they can minimize the detrimental affects drugs have upon the fetus, if they care enough about themselves and their babies to eliminate drugs from their lifestyles.
Taking and abusing drugs during pregnancy will not only affect the fetus physically, but also have definite potential to affect the fetus behaviorally, which may include psychologically, and emotionally. Abusing drugs during pregnancy can cause intellectual development disorders, such as retardation. Abusing drugs during pregnancy may cause the fetus to die within the womb before term, or be born stillborn. Drug abuse during pregnancy often makes the baby born underweight and often with underdeveloped body parts such as small lungs and a weak heart. The same kinds of harmful consequences that come with drug abuse for grown adults also can be passed on to the fetus; they have just as much chance to be affected by the drug abuse than the mother/user does. The physical affects of drug abuse during pregnancy may not only last while the baby is young; the harmful affects may persist into adulthood, especially if the fetus has underdeveloped body parts or limited brain functioning. Children who are…