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Stop drugs, alcohol and tobacco

All drugs -- prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, street drugs, alcohol or cigarettes -- have risks. Even small risks can add up. The baby developing inside you shares your blood and is exposed to the drugs you use during pregnancy. Some drugs can be very harmful to both you and your developing baby.

No two women are the same and each pregnancy is different. The affects of drugs used during pregnancy depend upon:

  • Which drug or drugs are used
  • How much of the drug is taken
  • How often the drugs are used
  • When, during pregnancy, the drugs are taken
  • Your medical history and mental and physical health

Talk to Your Doctor

Now that you are pregnant, you really need to talk to your doctor if you:

  • Smoke - Now is the time to quit! Check out the
    Quit smoking section
    of this Web site for resources to help you kick the habit. Talk to your healthcare team; they may have other ways to help you and may know of local support groups.

  • Are currently using any drugs - Tell your healthcare team so they can help! Call the Substance Use Specialist at 1-800-688-4232 for help getting treatment! Read the Quit street drugs section of this Web site to learn what your addiction may do to your baby.

  • Drink alcohol often, drink every day, or drink a lot at one time - Alcohol can cause damage to a developing baby. Talk to your doctor if you have an alcohol problem. Your doctor can help you get the help you need.

  • Are taking any prescription medicine - Your doctor will be able to adjust doses or switch medications if what you are using isn't good for your growing baby.

  • Use over-the-counter medicines, take vitamins, herbs or other supplements - Before you take any over-the-counter drugs or herbs, ask your doctor or pharmacist about possible dangers. Do not use anything that your doctor or nurse did not tell you to take during this pregnancy. For more information about medicines during pregnancy visit
    Opens in new window Medication Exposures During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

  • Breathe the cigarette smoke of others - Secondhand smoke is dangerous for you and your baby. Download your copy of Opens in new window"Oh Baby! We want to keep you safe from secondhand smoke" for ways you can keep the air around you and your baby smoke-free. (If this booklet downloads too slowly, try the Opens in new windowplain text version)

Other Links

North Carolina

American Legacy's QuitLine for pregnant smokers - 1-866-667-8278

Opens in new windowQuitlineNC - Find support, quit help-lines, and materials to stop smoking now

Opens in new windowfind treatment - Find the right drug abuse treatment program or alcohol abuse treatment program

Opens in new windowNarcotics Anonymous - Carolina Regional (NC/SC)


For more health information, search MedlinePlus

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Last updated: May 2015

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