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Forum Name: Obstetrics

Question: Crack Cocaine = Emergency C-Section


 mary610 - Sat Dec 05, 2009 3:50 am

I know a 20-year-old female who has one healthy child. She became pregnant again but smoked crack cocaine at least once during the pregnancy that I know of. She had to have an emergency C-section at 26 weeks and gave birth to a premie daughter who was in NICU. I was told that the emergency C-Section was due to "an issue with the placenta", but I have a feeling the real issue was her crack cocaine use.

Could using crack cocaine during pregnancy result in "an issue with the placenta" resulting in an emergency C-Section?
 Debbie Miller, RN - Sat Dec 05, 2009 10:40 am

User avatar Hello,
We do not know all the possible effects of using illegal narcotics. There is not enough information here to know if there is a link but it could be. There has been shown to be cases where the placenta detached from the uterus in cocaine users, but it is unknown what degree of exposure results in such damage and it does not occur in every case. This problem sometimes happens even in healthy mothers without addiction. Another concern is that drug users are often also smokers - another known risk in pregnancy. The more exposures to harmful substances, the higher the risk becomes for the baby and mother.

Other potential harm includes birth defects, miscarriage and addicted babies. Certainly using the cocaine was risky in many respects and should be completely avoided in pregnancy. I doubt anyone will ever be able to determine absolutely if the cocaine was responsible for the problem, but it is certainly possible.

Best wishes.

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