The life-threatening effects of prenatal drug abuse on children are complex, severe and cause serious health problems to an innocent soul. According to a study in Children Today, Josephine Gittler notes that an estimated 375,000 newborns per year face grim health conditions due to a mother's drug use during pregnancy. Eleven to fifteen percent of all the children born in the United States are exposed to utero drug and alcohol use (Gittler 3). These numbers are outlandish, increasing, and will have a serious impact on the future of the world. Drug usage during pregnancy has long lasting effects on the mother's health but more importantly to the child they are bearing. The problems associated with prenatal substance afflicted children are enumerable and scar the life of a child forever.
The duration of the child's life while still in the womb is very important, and it is up the mother to take every precaution to ensure the well being of her child. Alma Montano Saddam, writer for Ohio State University Extension, explains that getting regular prenatal care from a doctor, eating properly, not putting any mind or mood altering drugs into the body, and not taking any over the counter or prescription drugs unless directed by a doctor increases the chances of having a healthy baby (Saddam 1). Many women today do not have the proper education they need to enhance the life of their child, or are caught up in active addiction and can't stop using drugs.
Once the child is born it is vital that that he or she is diagnosed with prenatal substance abuse, but most drugs clear out of the body's system within three days. Nancy Lass, writer for Lutheran Education, explains that identifying how frequently the women used during pregnancy and how recently she used prior to the delivery of the infant is critically important. It is hard to detect substances in the child because the body rapidly metabolizes and flushes the drug out of the s