20090121

Protecting your Baby from Harm

Protecting your baby from harm
Just about everything you eat, drink, or take into your body during pregnancy will be passed on to your baby. Some of these things can cause a lot of harm. Below, you'll find out what is dangerous while you're pregnant.

Cigarettes
It isn't easy to give up cigarettes. But smoking can cause your baby to be born too small. Smaller babies have more health problems during the firts few months of life. And smoking may also cause you to deliver too soon. Babies who are born too early may have weak lungs and find it hard to breathe.
Smoking while pregnant also puts the baby at greater risk of crib death. Another name for this is sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The more you smoke, the more danger there is for your baby. If you can, you should quit smoking. If you can't, cut down as much as possible. Talk to your doctor or someone at a clinic. They'll help you quit.



Other people in your home who smoke should also quit or cut back. They shouldn't smoke around you when you're pregnant, or even in the house. And no one should smoke near your baby after he's born. Breathing in smoke can cause health problems for your baby. Second hand smoke has been linked to SIDS.

Learn to quit:
www.smokefree.gov

www.helppregnantsmokersquit.org

Alcohol
Alcohol can affect how your baby's brain and body develop. No one knows for sure if any amount is completely safe. So it's best not to drink any alcohol during pregnancy. In fact, you shouldn't even drink if you plan to become pregnant. If you drink alcohol, it reaches your baby fast. It doesn't matter if you drink beer, wine, or liquor. The more you drink, the more your baby is at risk. Unborn babies exposed to alcohol may be born with a condition called fetal alcohol syndrom (FAS). The brain of a baby with FAS may work more slowly than the brain of a healthy baby. Babies born with FAS may also have heart problems.

Medications
You shouldn't take certain drugs while pregnant. If you're pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant, be sure to tell your doctor, nurse, or dentist. They may ask you to stop taking some medicines. If you go to the dentist

Illegal Drugs
Using illegal drungs while pregnant can be very dangerous. Drugs can sicken or kill your baby. Heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine are the worst. If you use any of these drugs, even once, your baby can have serious health problems.
These drugs can damage your baby's brain. Babies of mothers who use these drugs are often born too soon and too small. These drugs can also cause you to lose your baby.
Often, women who use drugs to get high are not able to take good care of themselves. This can be harmful to the baby both during pregnancy and after birth. You need to give all your attention to taking care of your baby first.

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