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By Dr. Katie Shannon, OB-GYN, Clark Just for Women Health Solutions
Taking steps to be healthier before you get pregnant is the best way to set yourself and your baby up for a healthy start. These steps may include stopping the use of unhealthy substances such as tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, illegal drugs, and prescription drugs taken for a nonmedical reason.
Using substances like these can cause serious problems for your pregnancy and your fetus, including:
• birth defects
• low birth weight
• preterm birth
Substance use includes taking drugs such as heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamines. It also includes using oxycodone or other opioids in ways that were not prescribed for you.
If you use any of these substances, now is the time to quit. Stopping before pregnancy also can give you time to seek help if you have issues with substance use or dependence.
Quitting harmful behavior takes support. It’s OK to ask for help! Our team of OB-GYNs at Clark Just for Women Health Solutions can suggest ways to get through the early stages. We can also connect you with the Southern Indiana NEST (Nurture, Encourage, Stabilize, Treat) program that helps mothers and babies in our area overcome substance abuse disorder.
Also, your partner and anyone else you live with should not smoke around you during pregnancy. Secondhand smoke can expose your fetus to toxic chemicals and has been linked to an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
If you have a male partner, he should also give up harmful substances before you try to get pregnant. Smoking, drinking alcohol, and using drugs may damage a man’s sperm cells and have harmful effects on the fetus.
We are here to help you achieve a substance-free pregnancy and set you and your baby up for success. Schedule a preconception visit with us by calling 812-280-7063, and we’ll guide you every step of the way.