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Drug abuse and the effects to the fetus during pregnancy

May 6, 1999

I have been seeing this guy for about 8 months. He promised me that he quit drugs, and I believed him. I am now pregnant and I found out he was doing marijauna and cocaine. I don't do any drugs, but is there anyway that it could harm the baby because of his mistakes. I heard that it could.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Thank you for your question.

You will find a lot of information on substance abuse in pregnant women, and the effects of recreational drugs on the fetus in pregnant women who are using drugs. However, there is much less information on how these drugs can affect sperm cells, and the effects to the fetus (if any) when a male substance abuser gets a woman pregnant. Some studies do suggest that some recreational drugs may indeed have an effect on sperm cells (but more commonly associated with a decrease in fertility rather than a direct effect on the fetus). I was not able to find any significant amount of information that could easily answer your question as to the risk to your baby. I suggest that you talk to your doctor and have your doctor monitor your baby closely during your routine prenatal visits. In addition, because the rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are higher among people with a history of substance abuse, it is also recommended that both of you get tested for HIV and other STDs. In fact, HIV and STD testing is recommended for all pregnant women as a routine part of prenatal care.

To learn more about substance abuse, you can contact the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at 1-800-729-6686 (within the United States) or 1-301-468-2600 (outside the United States).

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

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