Pregnant women should avoid tobacco, alcohol, and drug use. Even minor use carries risks for health issues in the baby, including short- and long-term conditions or even death. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) supports education on the risks of substance use and abuse during pregnancy. The AAFP also recommends that adults who are 18 years or older be screened for alcohol misuse. For people who appear to have a problem, physicians should prescribe treatment and/or counseling. Stop using tobacco, alcohol, and drugs if you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or think you may be pregnant. This is because anything you consume gets passed to the baby through your blood and the placenta. The first trimester is most critical to your baby’s development. Talk to your doctor if you need help quitting. Smoking can increase your risk of miscarriage and preterm birth. Your baby could have a low birth weight or certain birth defects. Smoking during and/or after pregnancy also has been linked to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Other tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes, carry the same risks as smoking. There is no safe amount of tobacco or time to use tobacco during pregnancy.

Quitting smoking improves your health and your baby’s health. You also should try to avoid secondhand smoke when you are pregnant. Alcohol can increase your baby’s risk of major birth defects. One example is fetal alcohol disorder. It can cause problems such as slow growth, brain damage, developmental problems, and a small head. There is no proof that drinking alcohol in a certain amount or at a certain time during pregnancy prevents these risks. Some data does suggest that limited alcohol may not pose harm to the fetus, but it is unclear how much is too much. There are not certain alcoholic drinks that are safer than others. Unless your doctor says otherwise, it is best to avoid all alcohol throughout your entire pregnancy. Using illegal drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, and marijuana (still illegal for recreational use in most states), carry major risks. They can cause miscarriage, preterm birth, and birth defects. Your baby could be born with a drug addiction. This is called neonatal abstinence syndrome. It causes your baby to go through withdrawal, which is very painful.

It often has lasting health effects. The use of opioids during pregnancy can be harmful as well. In addition to the risks above, you could have placental abruption or your baby could have fetal growth problems. If you take opioids for a medical issue, talk to your doctor about when and how to quit. If you have an opioid addiction, your doctor may prescribe more serious treatment. One option is medication-assisted therapy (MAT). Once you know you’re pregnant, talk to your doctor about all the medicines you take. Some prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are okay to keep using, while others are not. They can give you a list of medicines that are proven safe. For some medicines, you may need to switch the dosage or type. Do not stop or start using a new drug without talking to your doctor first. This includes vitamins and supplements. It is very important to maintain a healthy lifestyle while you are pregnant.

This includes making good choices and going to the doctor for regular visits. You are more likely to have a healthy birth and birth. Schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as you find out you are pregnant. If you have a substance abuse or addiction problem, contact your doctor right away. You may need treatment. The doctor may suggest you see a counselor or psychiatrist. Other options are joining a support group, addiction program, or rehab center. If the doctor has specific concerns about your baby, they may order an ultrasound or other test. At what point should I stop using tobacco, alcohol, and drugs? Is it okay to have a small amount of alcohol during pregnancy? When can I start having alcohol again? Can I start smoking again once the baby is born? Can I take prescription drugs while I am pregnant? Can I take over-the-counter drugs while I am pregnant?

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Walker’s room is his oasis. It’s where he listens to music, does his homework, plays online games, and chats with friends. It looks like a typical bedroom — except for what’s under the bed. That’s where Walker keeps his secret stash of snacks and tosses the empty candy wrappers, chip bags, and cookie boxes. Walker has just eaten a large packet of cookies and a family-sized bag of chips — and he hasn’t even finished his homework yet. He’s searching for more chips to eat while he does his math. He hates that he’s overweight, but he can’t seem to stop binge eating. In the back of his mind, he knows that in an hour or so he’s going to feel guilty and disgusted with himself, but right now it feels like he just can’t stop himself. If you gorged on chocolate during Halloween or ate so much pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving that you felt uncomfortable, you know what it feels like to overeat.

It’s not unusual to overeat from time to time. During our teens, the body demands extra nutrients to support growth of muscle and bone. So if you go through phases where you feel like eating more sometimes, that’s usually why. But binge eating is different from typical appetite increases or overeating during the holidays. People with a binge eating problem regularly eat much more food than they need. They often eat quickly, eat when they are stressed or upset (instead of just when they are hungry), and do other things while they eat (like watch TV or do homework). They don’t stop eating when they’re full. People who binge eat are usually overweight because they take in so many more calories than their bodies can use. As a result, they may feel bad about themselves, feel that they lack self-control, and be unhappy about their weight, shape or body image.


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