A recent BBC investigation has found that nearly 1 in 500 babies in hospitals in England is born dependent on legal and illegal substances their mother took while pregnant. While this figure is lower than in previous years and continues to decrease, the study highlighted that the number of newborns effected varied greatly accordingly to geographical area. In 2015 at Bedford hospital every 1 in 100 babies showed signs of neonatal addiction whereas in Leicester only 1 in every 5000 babies was born with the condition.
Although the use of legal and illegal drugs during pregnancy has decreased over the last 5 years, it is important that women struggling with addiction receive the care and support that they need in order to give up. These women also need to be better informed about the dangerous impact that harmful substances can have on their babies.
Our midwife Nikki explains:
“The use of legal and illegal drugs in pregnancy is a cause for concern due to the potential harm it can cause to the unborn child and withdrawal symptoms for newborns. It is important that GPs and Health Professionals offer confidential and supportive advice and that these women are offered care before they conceive, so they can reduce and stop taking legal and illegal addictive drugs before they become pregnant if possible, or as soon as they know they are pregnant. It is vital, that partners and family members are also supportive, and as with smoking, the partner should also be encouraged to give up if planning for a child. An excellent supportive advice line is available through FRANK who offer friendly and confidential drug advice by phone or email.”
Find more information on FRANK here.
Read more about drugs and medicines in pregnancy here.
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