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Substance use during pregnancy

Alcohol

There is no safe amount of alcohol consumption in pregnancy; the safest choice is to stop drinking while pregnant. Talk to your care provider if this is difficult for you. Babies who are exposed to alcohol in utero may suffer from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), which can have life-long effects. If you have concerns about alcohol or substance abuse, call the Motherisk Alcohol and Substance Abuse Helpline at 1-877-327-4636, or visit MotherRisk.

Smoking

The effect of smoking (cigarettes, cigars, pipes or marijuana) on the health of babies is well known, and includes low birth weight, miscarriage, bleeding during pregnancy, and early rupture of the membranes.

Second hand smoke is no less dangerous. The rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is tripled in households with smokers, and children of people who smoke are more likely to have colds and chest infections.  While quitting smoking is never easy, pregnancy can be a time when you or your family members consider it the right time to quit. For inspiration, watch the digital photostory - Expecting to Quit, "She's the Boss of Me"

Other resources:

Cannabis

No amount of cannabis — marijuana— has been proven safe to use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Caution is warranted with any cannabis product, including CBD oil. Use during pregnancy or breastfeeding may be associated with short and long-term developmental issues for children. Learn more.

Prescription and recreational drugs

Pregnancy is an important time to review with your care povider all the drugs you and your partner are taking, including prescription, over the counter drugs or recreational drugs.  Before you discontinue a medication or take a new drug, consult with your caregiver.  For more information on drugs and their effect on your unborn child or during breastfeeding, call Motherisk at 416-813-6780.

A drug and alcohol helpline is also available at 1-800-565-8603.