Substance Use During Pregnancy

Jun 24, 2018 | Life Issues, Pregnancy

Many women ask, “Is it ok to drink alcohol when I’m pregnant?” Or, others may wonder, “Since marijuana is legal now in CA, is it safe to use while pregnant? Or, is it ok to smoke cigarettes or use e-cigarettes during pregnancy?”… Find out what the latest research shows and the answers to these questions below:

Doctors agree that there is no amount of alcohol that is safe to drink during pregnancy.

  • Alcohol use in pregnancy can interfere with baby’s growth and development (1)
  • It may cause “physical, intellectual, behavioral and learning disabilities that last a lifetime” (2)
  • For information on quitting alcohol go to

Doctors advise not to use marijuana, in any form, during pregnancy.

  • Marijuana use in pregnancy can “increase complications such as: premature birth, low birth weight, stillbirth, and small length and small head circumference” (1)
  • It is “associated with attention and behavioral problems in children”(2)
  • For women who are prescribed medical marijuana, doctors still recommend “that pregnant women and those planning to become pregnant stop using” marijuana (2)

Doctors warn that cigarette smoke (even second-hand smoke) exposure and use of e-cigarettes can be harmful to babies during pregnancy.

  • Women who smoke cigarettes are at higher risk for miscarriage, preterm labor, low birth weight babies (1)
  • Babies born to moms who smoke are “more likely to have colic (uncontrollable crying)” and have an “increased risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)” and are “more likely to develop asthma and obesity in childhood” (2)
  • E-cigarettes contain the harmful chemical nicotine and other chemicals that are not safe for a developing baby (1)
  • For information on quitting smoking go to

(1) Fact Sheet. Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS), 2016.

(2) Frequently Asked Questions. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), 2017.

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