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Giving Your Baby a Healthy Start

Giving your baby a healthy start while your baby is in growing in your womb may mean making different lifestyle choices that are not easy. An important place to begin is to stop using anything that can cause serious harm to your unborn baby such as cigarettes, alcohol or street drugs (recreational drugs).

Cigarette Smoking
If you smoke cigarettes, now is a good time to stop because smoking can further complicate diabetes. Women who smoke while pregnant are more likely to have a miscarriage, a stillborn baby, or premature birth (birth of the child before 37 weeks). Smoking also causes low birth weight. Prematurity and/or low birth weight can then lead to lower IQ, cerebral palsy, and other medical problems.

If you are have a difficult time quitting, talk with your healthcare provider about alternative methods that may help. Begin by reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke each day. Try not to smoke or at least cut down during the first three months of your pregnancy, a critical time in the development of your baby. Because secondhand smoke is just as dangerous as smoking yourself, ask others to not smoke around you while you are pregnant and later around your baby.

Alcohol should be avoided since alcohol can cause your baby serious and permanent damage such as mental retardation and slow growth. Because we do not know how much you can drink before you harm your unborn baby, we recommend that you do not drink alcohol at all during your pregnancy.

Street Drugs
Using street drugs can be very harmful to a pregnant woman and an unborn baby. Street drugs can cause miscarriage (an early delivery in which the baby dies), birth defects, poor growth, and infections including HIV. Your baby can become addicted and have severe reactions to any drug that you take. Also, do not use street drugs if you are breastfeeding because harmful substances can cross to your baby through your breast milk.

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Department of
Obstetrics and Gynecology

Medical Sciences Building Room 7254
231 Albert Sabin Way
Mail Location: 0526
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0526

Patient Care Office
Phone: 513-475-8588
Fax: 513-475-8726