GOLDEN TRIANGLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Mothers who abuse drugs while they’re pregnant increase the chances of babies being born with birth defects.
Drug screening isn’t required for expecting mothers, which makes it crucial for moms to be open and honest with their OBGYN.
WCBI sat down with an OBGYN, and she says a mother getting high needs to face some sobering facts about her unborn child.
“Of course most people think about illegal drugs when they think about moms having positive drug screenings, but one of the major issues is actually not just illegal drugs, like marijuana or methamphetamine, but probably an even bigger issue is prescription narcotic use,” says North Mississippi Medical Center OBGYN, Dr. Barbrette Baldwin.
The even bigger issue is the damage drugs cause for unborn babies.
“Babies can actually have a lot of issues with neonatal abstinence syndrome, and so those babies are basically treated very similarly to moms. They have a lot of withdrawal symptoms, and it can cause their central nervous system to be hyperactive,” says Baldwin.
When a mom does test positive for drugs, the next step falls in a gray area.
“With the baby still being a fetus, and not an actual human being at that point during the pregnancy, the laws aren’t very clear as far as, what we can do that at that time,” says Baldwin.
Depending on the facts and circumstances of drug abusing mothers, depends on the crime they’ll face.
“Including, aggravated assault, and maybe depending on the facts, felony child abuse. What I would really say, the legislature needs to pass a specific law about the use of drugs while your pregnant, and actually give specific penalties,” says District Attorney, Scott Colom.
It’s very important to be extra cautious during those 9 months of pregnancy, especially because of this.
“Mississippi has one of the highest infant mortality deaths in the country, and prenatal care is one of the best ways we can help to reduce that, so regardless of a mom’s history of her issues, and again, drug addiction is a health issue just like anything else, she definitely needs to seek prenatal care,” says Baldwin.
Baldwin says communication is key in helping drug abusing mothers, and it’s very important to offer them treatment.