Q: I didn't find out I was pregnant until 10 weeks and have been drinking and smoking heavily! I had no idea that I was pregnant because I was still having light monthly period's and was on birth control. I'm so worried and have been crying my eyes out. I've been searching the internet frantically, and have found nothing positive :( What should I do? It's a very wanted baby, but I am so scared I already did so much harm
A: The first thing to remember is DON'T PANIC. The truth is that many people indulge in bad habits before they know they are pregnant. The key is to stop once you know you are pregnant. If you find that you are having difficulty quitting, there are many options. Have a detailed conversation with your practitioner and together you can come up with a plan. It is also important to discuss what and how much you have been doing so that your practitioner is aware of any potential risks. It is unlikely that tremendous harm has been done. But, there are many important reasons to quit both tobacco and alcohol use during pregnancy. They include having a small fetus who doesn't grow properly (intrauterine growth restriction), having issues with your placenta (placenta pre via, placental abruption), preterm delivery, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, and an increased risk of stillborn, newborn death and SIDS. So the very best thing you can do for your unborn child is to quit now--there has never been a better time.