It’s no secret that from day one in your pregnancy, you’re “eating for two.” Your child receives nutrients from the same foods you consume, making it doubly as important that you pursue and maintain healthy dietary practices for the duration of the pregnancy.
For individuals struggling with substance use, pregnancy marks a difficult period of life. Obviously, it’s more important than ever that you avoid alcohol, cigarettes and illegal drugs while pregnant, given the fact that when these substances enter your system, they also negatively affect your child. However, hormone changes and overall stress can make saying no to drug and alcohol use even more difficult.
For the sake of pursuing freedom from substance use habits, and for the overall health of your child, it’s important that you take steps to eliminate damaging drug and alcohol use practices from the first day of your pregnancy to your last.
Effects of substance use during pregnancy
Avoiding substance use habits is always important. During pregnancy, it’s even more important to fully mitigate drug and alcohol use habits, for the good of your own body and for the good of your child’s health.
Here are some of the substances you need to avoid using during pregnancy:
There is actually no known amount of alcohol that is safe to consume while pregnant. Furthermore, chronic alcohol use during pregnancy can contribute to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder in your child, which can affect infant coordination, behavior, height, weight and size.
2) Illegal drugs
Illegal drugs like cocaine or heroin can easily compromise both your health and the health of your child. Babies born under the influence of illegal drugs could experience weight issues, as well as other birth defects or even symptoms of withdrawal.
Smoking during pregnancy can pose risks both to the mother and the child. Specifically, tobacco use during pregnancy can expose the child to carbon monoxide, nicotine and other dangerous chemicals. In addition, babies exposed to these chemicals could be born with height or weight issues, or varying birth defects.
4) Misused prescription drugs
Even if the drugs you use are legal and prescribed by healthcare professionals, misuse can still lead to short and long-term health issues. If you are using any prescription medication, make sure you are following the exact instructions. The misuse of prescribed opioids, or other medications, can lead to birth defects, or even the loss of the baby.
How do I avoid substance use during pregnancy?
It’s important to keep your body clean of damaging substances during your pregnancy, for your benefit and for the benefit of your baby’s health. Understandably, substance abuse temptations might arise during your pregnancy, and it’s important that you arrive at constructive solutions to deal with those desires.
Below, we’ve outlined a few ways you can say no to substance abuse during pregnancy:
1) Pursue a well-balanced life
Drugs and alcohol are typical outlets for individuals facing a challenge in life. Instead of turning to damaging substance use practices, look to pursue a well-balanced life to mitigate issues. This means making sure you get enough sleep every night, and that you consume a diet rich in natural ingredients while avoiding artificial flavors and sugars.
Living a well-balanced life also means looking toward the future. Not only do you need to balance work with family and relaxation; but you also need to maintain focus on what you want out of life, for yourself and for your loved ones. What will you do today to make tomorrow a better day?
2) Be ready to substitute substance use habits with other activities
Sometimes, you’ll be tempted to abuse substances by friends, family members or peers. Other times, you’ll be tempted to use drugs or alcohol when you’re alone. No matter where the impulse comes from, it’s always easier to say no to substance use when you can say yes to something else.
Maybe instead of using substances, you take a walk outside. Maybe you decide to spend your time cooking a meal, or watching a new episode of your favorite show, or visiting with friends who support your struggle against self-destructive behaviors. Whether it means getting a breath of fresh air or moving to another location, substituting alternative activities with substance use when temptation arises is one way to limit harmful activities on a day-to-day basis.
3) Get the help you need to manage substance use habits
Living a well-balanced life and substituting destructive behaviors for productive practices are two great ways to limit the effect that drugs and alcohol can have on your life. However, it’s also a great idea to introduce professional help into your day. Our licensed healthcare professionals at Real Recovery can help you pursue a sober living, distancing you from destructive substance use habits and helping you achieve the freedom you know you deserve.