The Dangers of Drug Use During Pregnancy

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The dangers of drug use during pregnancy are apparent as all substances ingested by the mother, cross through the placenta to the baby. Despite this knowledge, the urge to continue to use drugs and alcohol is very strong. Education and proper medical care during pregnancy indicates possible problems if addiction is present. Continued drug or alcohol usage during pregnancy presents a grave danger to the baby in the womb. The harmful effects of substance abuse can affect brain development and have long-lasting consequences after birth.

Drug Use and its Effects During Pregnancy

Medical experts continue to expound upon the dangers of drug use during pregnancy. Despite public outcry, babies continue to be born with drug or alcohol addictions. Withdrawal for these tiny humans is dangerous and painful. Doctors do not always immediately recognize the damage done to a newborn child, but the damage can last a lifetime. Effects of the mother’s drug and alcohol use can differ depending on the substance ingested and the point of development of the baby in the womb.


Alcohol usage during pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn death, which are all heartbreaking situations. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) presents with the possibilities of heart and facial defects, learning problems, low birth weights and other issues with brain function. The dangers of drug use during pregnancy includes alcohol addiction. It is best for the mother to stop drinking any alcohol once she determines she is pregnant.


Marijuana can be harmful to the baby in utero, increasing the possibility of miscarriage, low birth weight and premature birth. The interruption of normal fetal development has been found in mothers who use marijuana. Learning difficulties in childhood, disruptive behaviors, and visual spatial difficulties can occur. The dangers of drug use during pregnancy include learning difficulties among some children.


Cocaine is among the most dangerous drugs for an unborn baby. Miscarriage and preterm death are often linked to cocaine usage. The dangers of drug use during pregnancy include babies being born addicted, irritable, and jittery. Cocaine use during pregnancy exposes children to future difficulties which include, lower intelligence, impaired attention issues, emotional and behavioral problems and more. 


Heroin use during pregnancy accentuates the dangers of drug use during pregnancy. Using heroin during pregnancy can cause premature birth, neonatal abstinence syndrome, birth defects and stillbirth. Heroin-addicted pregnant mothers should report their heroin use to a medical professional. Doctors advise them to receive help with withdrawing from the drug and to not just quit, cold turkey, as this can cause infant death or other severe issues. Medical medication can ease the symptoms of withdrawal and be a safer alternative.


Methamphetamine addiction during pregnancy results in a greater risk of premature birth, and low birth weight, and heart and brain abnormalities. Pregnant women who are unaware of the dangers of drug use during pregnancy should notify their physicians about their drug use. Babies born to mothers using methamphetamines during pregnancy have shown development disability, attention problems and behavior issues in childhood.

Long-Term Effects of Drug Use During Pregnancy

The long term effects on children born to mothers who used alcohol or drugs during pregnancy include many learning difficulties, negative behavior patterns and attention problems. The dangers of drug use during pregnancy continue long beyond the birth of the baby. Developmental delays that occur can signal need for early intervention services. Researchers continue to gather information and data to determine the effects of addiction during pregnancy.

Tobacco or nicotine addiction is another negative factor for usage in pregnancy. Smoking can affect the unborn baby as well, resulting in ADHD and other learning problems in childhood. Pregnant mothers need to consider the dangers of drug use during pregnancy to eliminate or reduce the possibilities of serious disabilities for their children.

Find Detox Treatment for Drug Use in Pregnancy

It is imperative that pregnant mothers notify their physician of their addiction in receiving their all important prenatal care. The dangers of drug use during pregnancy involve both the mother and the child, so there exist a large number of treatment options. A medical professional carefully monitors the withdrawal from the addictive substance. Medical medication therapy may be utilized for safety in withdrawal for the developing baby. Treatment options are available for safe detoxification from drugs or alcohol. Both mother and child receive treatment at the same time, as both are affected by detox. 

The Dangers of Drug Use in Pregnancy in California

If you or a loved one is pregnant and addicted to drugs or alcohol, the time to act is now!  At Launch Centers in Los Angeles, California we have experienced professionals who can help you with this very serious situation. Reach out to us on the many options available on our home page! The dangers of drug use during pregnancy are real and of great consequence. Contact us for more information.

About Our Founder

Jose Hernandez, for over a decade, has been involved in alcohol and addiction recovery helping people succeed in overcoming substance abuse and regaining control of their lives. He has experience in all aspects of the recovery world, from facilitating entry into treatment as an intervention specialist to counseling and case management at rehabilitation facilities. Jose has worked one-on-one with individuals as a sober companion and with groups as a resident counselor at addiction treatment centers and is certified by the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC) to practice as a substance abuse counselor.

Through his professional experiences in crisis intervention, drug and alcohol detoxification, substance abuse counseling, and relapse prevention, Jose has developed a unique plan for case management that bridges the gap between a person’s painful past of substance abuse and a future of sobriety.

At Riviera Recovery, a sober living facility with multiple locations, clients continue their transition from the supportive environment of a treatment center to living well and happily in the “real” world. The program he designed at Riviera Recovery personalizes treatment plans that enable clients, including those with a single or dual-diagnosed mental health disorder, to embrace a satisfying life.

His greatest endeavor has been establishing LAUNCH, a Los Angeles-based life skills intensive outpatient program for young adults. LAUNCH works with recovering men and women to establish personal vocational and educational goals and develop the tools to successfully meet them. His mission is to ensure that no one stands alone in his or her recovery.

Meet Our Clinical Team

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Jess Beck, LCSW

Clinical Director

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Eric Chaghouri, MD


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Chloe Kruskol, LCSW

Family Program Manager

Our Testimonials

Clients and Professionals Share Their Experience

  • HO

    Launch provided care on multiple levels. The highly skilled therapist coupled with the focus on purpose and long-term goals refocused my recovery from what previous treatment centers pushed onto me. I went from believing that I needed years of treatment to believing I needed years happiness and success. I began to focus on what I wanted to accomplish with my life. I came to realize all the things my addiction and mental illness had taken from me, and I used my future goals as a reason to never pick up again. Due to the passion that Launch instilled in me, I have pursued my future with excitement and dedication.

  • Nicole

    This place changed my life! I’ve had good laughs, good cries, shared a lot of heart to heart moments and grew a loving bond with everyone at Launch Centers. I will always be grateful!!! I really do miss it time to time. I highly recommend Launch Centers!

  • Joey

    The staff and clinicians are amazing and make you feel right at home from the second you walk in the door. I would absolutely recommend this place for a family member or close friend.

  • Ben

    This treatment facility has changed my life. I have always struggled with my mental health and this young adult program provided me with the necessary skills to launch to adulthood. I commend anyone who struggles with mental health or substance use (which was not me) to try this program out. It will change your life.

  • Conner

    Launch Centers Treatment was a major help to me. The therapists and staff genuinely cared about me and truly helped me to make a plan for my future. My personal therapists helped me to discover where some of my deeper issues came from. All of the staff worked tirelessly with me to talk through my issues, or just about life, and offered realistic solutions to my current problems and situation. All of the staff went above and beyond and advocated relentlessly for me. I am very grateful that I was able to have such a wonderful experience with Launch.

  • Adam

    In no uncertain terms Launch Centers changed my life. The staff at Launch are professional, knowledgable and relatable. They keep the format diverse and interesting which kept me engaged in the process. The greatest thing we can do in life is seek to improve ourselves. Launch gave me a skill set I consider to be invaluable in the journey of becoming the best version of myself. I would implore anybody considering Launch to step outside their comfort zone and go, you will not regret it.


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