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The Problems For Women When Drinking, Smoking And Using Drugs During Pregnancy

Studying medical information and applying it to your personal history often reveals interesting things. There is a reasonably new (not yet updated) report about women, drinking, pregnancy, and substance abuse.

Pregnant women are encouraged not to abuse their bodies while pregnant. Of course, smoking is never good and drinking can easily be dangerous. Additionally today, you can add substance abuse as a pregnancy “no-no.”

The human body is amazing to me. However, the woman’s physical capabilities as far as the ability to go through pregnancy changes exceed “amazing;” it is awesome.

The use of alcohol, tobacco, and/or illegal drugs can cause any number of illnesses and conditions as well as death. Even legal medications, over-the-counter medications, and certain foods (coffee) may present a problem. I’m not a doctor nor an official researcher so I cannot provide you with numbers (as I wish I could), but I can say with assurance the problems are monumental. Although, a better alternative to all these addictions is dab rigs under 50 that are much safer.

It took my wife and me 10 years to have a child. We had our first son in 1983. My wife quit smoking in 1981. I have to believe there was a connection.

I fully believe that her body protected itself from the dangers of pregnancy as long as she had a smoking habit. When she quit she became stronger and conceived.

All of this is actually a preface to some observations about the report referred to in the first paragraph. This was the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association’s (SAMHSA) National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUID).

The information is the building block to understanding mother’s problems, pregnant mother’s problems, and young women’s problems as well as infant and young children’s unique alcohol and drug syndromes.

While the target group for the survey was women from the ages of 15 to 44. Girls aged 12 and up were included which in itself is disturbing.

This accumulated data is all the way through 2008.

The groups were divided among women who had no children less than age one, women currently pregnant, and women who gave birth within the past month.

The results of the report were shocking and sad.

It was found that 6.3 million women 18 to 49 needed treatment for substance abuse annually. Only one in ten received treatment.

In women ages, 15 to 45 nearly 94 percent indicated they did not need treatment and of the remaining 6 percent, only about 1.7 percent made an effort to get treatment.

We are using “substance abuse” to represent drinking.

In the survey, the women who used alcohol in the last month during pregnancy were nearly 12 percent surveyed, compared to about 37 percent of recent mothers and about 53 percent of mothers who had a child longer than a year ago. (These numbers are general and rounded)

The fact that there is as much alcohol use as there is represented as the reason for concern as much as the percentages.

The health of children and the strength and possibility of families are minimized by alcohol usage and abuse.

1 SAMHSA News, Magazine November/December 2008, Page 11, “Pregnant Women and Drinking: New Statistics”

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