Drug and Alcohol Use during Pregnancy
Current and unmet needs of pregnant women using drugs are discovering that a woman is taking drugs. Professionals do not know the woman is taking drugs until the baby is born. The March of Dimes (March of Dimes, 2010) estimates ???four percent of women in the United States??? (March of Dimes, 2010, para.1) use illegal drugs. Many women who use drugs and alcohol during pregnancy cannot quit because the baby could die while in the womb. When a baby is born, he or she will need detoxification of the drugs and alcohol. Women are not receiving care during pregnancy for the addictions and the babies are usually born with many birth defects, retardation, and withdraw symptoms.
Pregnant women who use alcohol and drugs are usually practicing unhealthy behavior that leads to sexually transmitted diseases. Risque behaviors and unsupervised visits by doctors prevent healthy babies. Most women who engage in bad habits during pregnancy have poor nutrition and do not take prenatal vitamins. ???Low birth weight, premature babies, stillbirth,??? (Drug use in pregnancy, 1993, para.1) and many more problems occur to babies born in this condition. If a doctor, a family member, or a friend can intervene and help the woman obtain help the baby will have a better chance.
Alcohol and cigarettes are major contributors of unhealthy behavior during pregnancy according to ???Pediatrics for Parents??? (Drug use in pregnancy, 1993, p.1). ???Smoking cigarettes??? (Drug use in pregnancy, 1993, para.2) during pregnancy is a one of the highest drug habits and more education to stop the smoking of cigarettes needed to stop the epidemic of a baby??™s birth defects, retardation, and low birth weights.
Many pregnant women who have not received enough education regarding the use of drugs do not know what the consequences are to the unborn fetus. A program geared toward young girls in middle school or high school would be beneficial.
A program called DARE (DARE, America, 1996) is taught in schools and ???gives kids skills they need to avoid drugs, gangs, and violence??? (DARE, America, 1996, para.1) DARE (DARE, America, 1996) ???founded in 1983 in Los Angeles has proven successful and applied in 75 percent of our nation??™s schools districts and more than 43 countries around the world??? (DARE, America, 1996, para.2).
If a program with the success rate as this one can work this well ??“ than another program like DARE (DARE, America, 1996) could work for pregnancy and drugs. Possibly incorporate another program in the same one. DARE (DARE, America, 1996) shows graphic movies regarding gangs, drugs, and violence. I believe if graphic movies are shown to young kids of babies born with birth defects and abnormalities – this will have a lasting effect on young children and teens. Pictures say a thousand words to young children and once a child or teen sees firsthand what drugs can do to a baby it will leave a lasting memory. This program would not just be for girls ??“ boys too. A boy or man is just as much at fault as a girl or a woman. Secondhand smoke can harm a pregnant woman and boys or men need to know what is done around a pregnant woman can cause problems too. The program could benefit both female and males.
A program similar to DARE (DARE, America, 1996) would help kids obtain the skills needed to prevent some of these pregnancies. If kids are taught early what using drugs or alcohol during pregnancy happen, many avoidable drug- related pregnancies will occur. Knowledge is the key and giving the knowledge at an early age is the best option a person can do for children and teens. Health care providers, doctors, or a local drug addiction counselor will give the best advice and information to the children. The program leader will need as many qualifications as possible to answer any questions regarding issues or problems asked.
Some high schools have Child Development classes and the schools could incorporate these issues into that class. Each state could make the class mandatory or the young teens will not graduate. The State of Florida has a mandatory law regarding driver licenses. When a teen drops out of school ??“ suspension of the teen??™s driver??™s license is done before the age of 18 by the state. Deciding how to make a class mandatory is a problem and even though this may not be the best way to enforce the class ??“ there may be an answer.
Several drug and alcohol programs exist for someone to seek help and only if the person seeks out the help on her own. Florida requires a DATE (CORE Program, Inc., 2004) class before a person can obtain a driver??™s license or the driver will not receive a license without the class. Once the young people are past school age there is no way to enforce an education class regarding pregnancy, drugs, and alcohol. Catching the attention of drug users after graduating school is nearly impossible and if the person can be taught young; maybe just saving one baby will be worth all the work.
Drug and Alcohol Use during Pregnancy