Health Topics

Alcohol, Smoking and Drugs During Pregnancy

To have the healthiest baby possible, it is best to avoid alcohol, smoking and street drugs.


  • There is no known safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy.
  • There is no safe kind of alcohol during pregnancy.
  • There is no safe time for alcohol use in pregnancy.

If you drank alcohol before you knew you were pregnant, talk to your health care provider or call Motherisk at 1-877-327-4636.

Ask for help if you want to quit or cut down on drinking alcohol.


It is safest not to smoke. Quitting or cutting down on smoking can improve the health of your baby and benefit you and your partner. There are benefits at all stages of pregnancy. It is never too late to quit!

  • Smoking can cause complications during pregnancy. It can cause babies to be born too soon or too small. When babies are born too soon or too small, they are more likely to have serious health problems.
  • During pregnancy and after birth, babies and children exposed to second-hand smoke have
  • The more you smoke, the greater the risk to your health and your baby’s health.
  • Smoke-free homes and cars are best for both you and your baby. It is against the law to light or use a tobacco product in a motor vehicle with anyone inside under 16 years of age.
  • E-cigarettes may cause health problems and are not tested for safety during pregnancy.

Ask for help if you want to quit or cut down on smoking.


It is safest to not use street (illegal) drugs. Using street drugs at any time during pregnancy can result in miscarriage and may cause damage to your baby.

  • May have brain damage that will affect how they learn.
  • May be born preterm.
  • Are usually smaller than other babies.
  • Cry a lot and are more likely to be fussy.
  • May be born with an addiction.


There is no known safe amount of cannabis use in pregnancy and when breastfeeding.

  • Affect a woman’s ability to become pregnant.
  • Increase the risk of preterm birth (*for heavy users and those who also use tobacco).
  • Result in a low birth weight baby.
  • Result in a baby with lower alertness and slower growth.


If you use opioids and are considering becoming pregnant or are pregnant, please speak to your health care provider. Your health care provider may consider changing your medication. This will help you deal with the side effects of withdrawal. It will be safer for your baby too.

  • Poor fetal growth.
  • Placental abruption.
  • Fetal death.
  • Preterm labour.
  • Intrauterine passage of meconium.
  • Neonatal withdrawal (neonatal abstinence syndrome).

Prescription and over-the-counter medications

Some medications taken during pregnancy may be a danger to your unborn baby. Speak to your health care provider

  • Before taking any medication, including over-the-counter medication or herbal supplements.
  • Before stopping any prescription medications.

Contact us

For more information:

Phone: 905-546-3550
Email: [email protected]