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Smoking, alcohol and drugs

  • Don’t smoke, drink alcohol or use drugs during pregnancy.
  • These can cause lifelong health problems for your baby.
  • If you need help to quit, tell your health care provider.
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Ecstasy, methamphetamine and other club drugs

Club drugs are street drugs that can cause harm to you and your baby during pregnancy. They’re called club drugs because they’re often taken at clubs or parties. They can cause harm to you and your baby during pregnancy.

Club drugs include:

  • Ecstasy, also called X, E or MDMA
  • Methamphetamine, also called meth, crystal meth, speed or crank
  • Phencyclidine, also called PCP or angel dust
  • Ketamine, also called Special K

Can using club drugs cause problems in pregnancy?

It’s hard to know exactly how club drugs affect pregnancy. Pregnant women who take club drugs often drink alcohol or smoke. So it’s hard to know which of these activities is responsible for certain pregnancy problems. But using any kind of street drug during pregnancy may cause serious problems, including :

  • Premature birth. This is birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Low birthweight. This is when a baby is born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces.
  • Neonatal abstinence syndrome (also called NAS). This is a group of conditions a newborn can have if his mother is addicted to drugs during pregnancy. NAS happens when a baby gets addicted to a drug before birth and then goes through drug withdrawal after birth. 

What is ecstasy?

Ecstasy comes as a pill that you take by mouth.  It’s sometimes called the “love drug” because it makes you feel very friendly and touchy-feely. It also can make you feel depressed or confused and make you have trouble remembering things. 

Using ecstasy may cause health problems, including:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Very fast heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Teeth clenching 

What is meth?

Meth has many forms. It can be a white, bitter powder that can be eaten, snorted or mixed with liquid and injected with a needle.  Sometimes meth comes as a pill or is made into a clear or white shiny rock (called crystal meth) that can be smoked. 

Using meth may cause you to feel cranky, angry or afraid. It can cause health problems, including:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Very fast heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Hallucinations (when you see, hear or feel things that aren’t really happening)
  • Dizziness

What is PCP?

PCP is a pill or powder that is eaten, smoked or snorted. PCP often makes you feel angry, violent, unhappy or dreamy. It also can cause hallucinations.

What is special K?

Special K is a white, crystal-like powder. It’s usually eaten, snorted or injected with a needle. It can make you feel far away from what's going on around you and make you feel scared and anxious. It can cause health problems, including: 

  • High blood pressure
  • Respiratory failure. This is when too little oxygen passes from your lungs into your blood or when your lungs can’t remove carbon dioxide (a gas) from your blood.
  • Hallucinations

How can you get help to quit using club drugs?

Talk to your health care provider. He can help you get treatment to quit. Or contact: 

For more information

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Mother to Baby

Last reviewed November 2013

Things to avoid

  • Alcohol, in any quantity
  • Smoking and secondhand smoke
  • Herbs or supplements not OK with your doctor
  • Medicines obtained without prescription
Talk with your doctor about all the medicines you take.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I keep taking all my prescriptions during pregnancy?

It depends on the drug. Tell your prenatal care provider about any prescription drugs you take. Some drugs may be harmful to a growing baby. You may need to stop taking a drug or switch to a drug that's safer for your baby. Don't take anyone else's prescription drugs. And don't take any prescription drug unless your prenatal care provider knows about it.

I drank before I knew I was pregnant. Is my baby hurt?

It's unlikely that an occasional drink before you realized you were pregnant will harm your baby. But the baby's brain and other organs begin developing around the third week of pregnancy, so they could be affected by alcohol in these early weeks. The patterns of drinking that place a baby at greatest risk for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are binge drinking and drinking seven or more drinks per week. However, FASDs can and do occur in babies of women who drink less. Because no amount of alcohol has been proven safe during pregnancy, a woman should stop drinking immediately if she even suspects she could be pregnant. And she should not drink alcohol if she is trying to become pregnant.

Is it OK to drink wine in my third trimester?

No amount of alcohol has been proven safe during pregnancy. To ensure your baby's health and safety, don't drink alcohol while you're pregnant. Alcohol includes beer, wine, wine coolers and liquor. If you need help to stop drinking alcohol, tell your health care provider.

Have questions?