Drug use, pregnancy and babies

Most drugs taken during pregnancy cross the placenta and reach the unborn child. 

Some of these drugs, such as alcohol, can be harmful to the developing child.

Premature birth and low birth weight have been linked to the use of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines during pregnancy. See the information on a particular drug in the A-Z of Drugs list for information about the health risks of drug use during pregnancy.

If a mother uses drugs while breastfeeding, it is possible that the drug will be present in her milk and may have adverse effects on the baby.

Check with your doctor if you are taking or planning to take any drug during pregnancy or breastfeeding, including prescribed and over-the-counter medications.


A free telephone counselling service for women and their healthcare providers in NSW who need to know about the effects of medications, alcohol and other drugs during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Sydney: (02) 9382 6539
Regional NSW: 1800 647 848
9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).