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Most women stop using prescription pain medications, illegal drugs and alcohol during pregnancy. However, some may not know how dangerous continuing these substances can be for their unborn baby. Most often, those who abuse prescription drugs obtain them from friends and family. The goal is to get the woman HELP so that she can have a healthy pregnancy and infant and so that the family stays together.

In some situations, women may deny use of these substances, but there are warning signs friends and family members can look for.

Signs of drug use

Behavior Patterns

  • Sedation
  • Euphoria
  • Agitation
  • Aggression
  • Increased physical activity
  • Anxiety and nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Disorientation
  • Prescription drug-seeking behavior
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Sexual promiscuity
  • Dishonesty
  • Unreliability

Physical Findings

  • Track marks and other evidence of intravenous drug use
  • Alcohol on the breath
  • Inflamed/eroded nasal mucus, nose bleeds
  • Scars, injuries
  • High blood pressure
  • Tremors
  • Slurred speech
  • Self-neglect or poor hygiene
  • Liver or renal disease
  • Runny nose
  • Chronic cough
  • Nervous mannerisms, like frequently licking lips, jitters and foot tapping
  • Pinpoint or dilated pupils
  • Rapid eye movements
  • Poor nutritional status
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexually transmitted disease
Psychological Problems
  • Memory loss
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Paranoia
  • Unexplained mood swings
  • Personality changes
  • Intellectual changes

Medical History

  • Frequent hospitalizations
  • Gunshot/knife wound
  • Unusual infections, like cellulitis, endocarditis, atypical pneumonias and HIV
  • Liver problems
  • Hepatitis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Diabetes
  • Frequent falls/unexplained bruises
  • Chronic mental illness