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How drugs affect the unborn baby?

A woman's drug use can affect both her foetus and her newborn. Most drugs cross the placenta--the organ that provides nourishment to the foetus. Some can cause direct toxic (poisonous) effects and drug dependency in the foetus. After birth, some drugs can be passed to the baby through breast-feeding. The critical period of embryonic development, when the major organ systems develop, starts at about 17 days post-conception and is complete by 60 to 70 days. Exposure to certain drugs during this period (17 to 70 days) can cause major birth defects. However, some drugs can interfere with functional development of organ systems and the central nervous system in the second and third trimesters and produce serious consequences. During the last 12 weeks of pregnancy, drug use poses the greatest risk for stunting fetal growth and causing pre-term birth.

Keywords: Effects of drugs on embryonic development Drug effects on unborn child
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