Use of substances and pregnancy

Drinking alcohol, smoking or taking drugs during pregnancy and while breastfeeding does not only harm your own health but also that of your (unborn) baby. We recommend that you abstain from alcohol, smoking and drugs during this period.

It is not easy to stop. Do you or your partner have a problem doing so? Discuss it with an aid worker or a doctor. They can refer you to a specialised organisation that can help you quit smoking, drinking and drug use.

Risks of alcohol
  • Alcohol increases the risk of birth defects and poor growth.
  • It can lead to foetal alcohol syndrome (facial abnormalities, low birth weight, damage to the nervous system,...).
  • Alcohol passes to the baby through breast milk. It is safer for breastfeeding mothers to stop drinking alcohol.
Risks of smoking

Active and passive smoking are harmful to your unborn child.

  • Avoid smoky environments.
  • If you work in a smoky environment, try keep the room well-ventilated. You can’t? Consider renting a separate room during pregnancy.

Possible consequences for your baby:

  • Preterm birth, low birth weight, poor growth.
  • Miscarriage.
  • Risk of infant death, respiratory infections and asthma.
Risks of drugs

The risks depend on the type of drugs you take.

Possible consequences for your baby:

  • Preterm birth and poor growth.
  • Withdrawal symptoms after birth.
  • Negative impact on your child’s further development.

The website of the drugslijn gives further information about drug use in pregnancy. Click here.


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