It is important not to stop taking any drugs without help from a doctor. A health professional can work with you to stop using so that it is safe for your baby.

When you find out you are pregnant, it may be tempting to stop using drugs straight away. With some drugs, this can be very dangerous for your baby

Drugs and pregnancy

Most drugs, and the substances they are mixed with, will travel directly into your baby’s bloodstream. What you take, your baby is taking too.

Drug use during pregnancy may:

  • lead to miscarriage, premature birth and stillbirth
  • lead to birth defects
  • cause the placenta to detach from the wall of the uterus. This can cause you or your baby to die or become very unwell
  • block the supply of oxygen and the flow of blood to your baby
  • increase your heart rate and your baby’s heart rate
  • stop your baby from growing properly
  • affect your appetite and the nutrients to your baby. You will also feel more rundown if you don’t eat properly
  • cause damage to your baby’s brain and central nervous system
  • increase your baby’s chances of getting infections
  • increase the risk of your baby dying from Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

If you share injecting equipment you can get viruses in your blood such as hepatitis and HIV. These viruses can also affect your baby.

What you can do

  • Talk to a health professional about the drugs you are taking, even if you are not sure what they are.
  • Talk to a health professional about how you could stop.
  • If you stop too quickly, you may have withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms might come several days after you stop, and may last for several weeks.
  • Health professionals will work with you and support you to reduce or stop taking the drug safely.
  • If your drug has been prescribed or is part of a treatment, make sure the doctor or medical team know that you are pregnant.
  • If you are a heroin user, you will be offered a safe alternative such as a methadone stabilisation program.


The Women’s does not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or use of such information or advice) which is provided on the Website or incorporated into it by reference. The Women’s provide this information on the understanding that all persons accessing it take responsibility for assessing its relevance and accuracy. Women are encouraged to discuss their health needs with a health practitioner. If you have concerns about your health, you should seek advice from your health care provider or if you require urgent care you should go to the nearest Emergency Dept.