Can Babies Born Addicted to Drugs Be Normal?

Written by Jackie Calkins

Abusing alcohol and drugs while pregnant can cause harm to you and your baby. For example, pregnant women who abuse alcohol and drugs regularly may have their babies born addicted to drugs. If you are pregnant or plan to be and you abuse alcohol and drugs, please reach out to our Journey Pure at the River team today to get help overcoming addiction or substance abuse issues.

Pregnancy Risks When Mom Drinks or Uses Drugs

Babies born addicted to drugs are likely to have some health risks. However, there are also risks to the baby and to the mom during pregnancy if the mother drinks or uses drugs. Some of the issues that may present themselves include:

  • Increased risk of miscarriage
  • Altered brain development 
  • Birth defects
  • Impaired growth
  • Increased risk of premature labor
  • Impact on the child’s language, behavior, and cognition

There are some drugs that have more specific risks to the baby. For instance, methamphetamine, cocaine and nicotine have the highest chances of causing fetal growth reduction. Amphetamine use has the highest chances of causing decreased fetal growth, heart defects and facial clefts. 


Certain drugs and alcohol can also cause the baby to be born dependent on those substances. When born addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, they will likely go through withdrawal symptoms, especially if the mother was abusing substances throughout her entire pregnancy. 


If you or someone you know is abusing alcohol and/or drugs while pregnant or if you plan to get pregant and are abusing these substances, please reach out to us here at Journey Pure at the River today. Our team can help you to overcome substance abuse issues and addiction. If you are scared that it’s too late, it’s not. Quitting alcohol and drugs at any time is great. The sooner you make the choice and decide to do it, the better.

Symptoms of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

As noted above, babies born addicted to drugs may have withdrawal symptoms which is known as neonatal abstinence syndrome or NAS. There are various symptoms that babies often have when born with NAS including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Excessive and/or high pitched crying
  • Excessive sucking
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Slow weight gain due to poor feeding
  • Sweating
  • Blotched skin
  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy nose
  • Fast breathing 
  • Hyperactive reflexes 
  • Trembling
  • Seizures

Just as noted above, the sooner you stop drinking and doing drugs, the less chance there will be of your baby going through these withdrawal symptoms. If you want to get treatment right away, please reach out to us here at Journey Pure at the River. 

Babies Born Addicted to Drugs May Develop Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder 

If a mother uses alcohol during pregnancy there is an increased risk of birth defects, impaired fetal growth and long-term growth issues. Pregnancy use of alcohol can also cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorder when the baby is born. The most severe form of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder or FASD is called fetal alcohol syndrome or FAS. 


Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders may lead to psychiatric and/or physical problems in the baby. Some of these issues that may be present include the following:

  • Low body weight
  • Hearing and/or vision issues
  • Abnormal facial features 
  • Smaller head size than normal
  • Shorter height than normal
  • Sleep issues
  • Sucking issues
  • Poor coordination
  • Bone, kidney, brain, and/or heart issues
  • Crying more than usual 
  • Other abnormal behaviors

Babies born addicted to drugs may suffer from many long-term health issues such as failure to grow, brain damage, intestinal issues and much more. In addition, infants who were exposed to alcohol and/or other drugs while the mother was pregnant have a much higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS than babies whose mothers weren’t abusing drugs or alcohol while pregnant. 

Drug and Alcohol Effects on Children Exposed in Utero

If babies are exposed to drugs and alcohol in utero, when they get a bit older, there are behavior, achievement, language and cognition issues that can occur. Some of the social and psychiatric problems that can occur due to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders include the following:

  • Intellectual disabilities 
  • Low IQ
  • Attention and/or memory issues
  • Hyperactivity
  • Language and/or speech delays
  • Poor reasoning and/or judgment skills
  • Learning disabilities
  • Other difficulties in school

If you or someone you know is abusing drugs or alcohol while pregnant, get help to quit today. The sooner you can get clean and sober, the lower your baby’s risk will be of getting Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. 

Get Addiction and Substance Abuse Treatment Help Today

Do you or someone you know abuse amphetamines, alcohol, cocaine, heroin or other drugs? If so, you can get the help you need. Here at Journey Pure in the River, we have a range of treatments that can help you to overcome addiction and other substance abuse issues. Remember, the sooner you choose to stop abusing drugs and alcohol, the lower your baby’s risk is going to be of having Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and other drug and alcohol-related issues. 


Even if you have tried to quit using alcohol and/or drugs already, that doesn’t mean hope is lost for you. In fact, we have helped women who have dealt with addiction for many years. It isn’t too late for you to get the help that you need. Contact us today, here at Journey Pure at the River, to start overcoming addiction and substance abuse issues, so you can reduce the number of babies born addicted to drugs.NAS