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Do drugs like MDMA, Coke, and LSD affect an unborn fetus?
Q: My wife is 10 Weeks Pregnant.

Do drugs like MDMA, Coke, LSD, Cannabis, Affect the child? If so what effects and what risk. I have read many FAQs and they seem to say ANY drug is bad when pregnant. I can say myself that no one will recommend but we would like facts to make our own jugement.

We have been using the above drugs on weekends for some years, so the info i would like your help with is just about pregnancy.

A: As I'm sure you know, the safe bet is to not take any drugs while pregnant. Another general point is that the earlier the fetus is in development, the more sensitive they seem to be to psychoactive substances being introduced into their system. Here's what we know about the various effects of the drugs you list if used while pregnant.


This seems like one of the worst. There's still raging debate about the effects of MDMA on the brain, but it's difficult to refute that it does make changes to the brain chemistry of humans. This seems like something to avoid with a developing fetus.


Again, there's quite a bit of debate about the effects of cocaine or crack use during pregnancy. In the 80's there was a large body of literature developing that suggested that "crack babies" were harder to please, cried more, had lower birth weights and developed more slowly. Since then there have been a number of rebuttals suggesting that it was possible these effects were due to the poor living and health conditions, and the general lifestyle of babies born to mothers who used crack. Turns out many of the original researchers were heavily biased in favor of finding damage. It generally seems like a pretty bad idea.


LSD may be a mild abortificant. Ergot, which is closely related to LSD, can cause uterine contractions. LSD has also long been rumored to cause chromosome damage in fetuses. There is a good article on possible chromosome damage with hallucinogen use during pregnancy. The following quote sums up the section on hallucinogens and embryo damage

"Not withstanding the results of this last study, there is enough evidence that hallucinogenic drugs have adverse effects on developing embryos to cause grave concern."


There are rumors that cannabis reduces birth weight and intellectual development of babies. Many studies have been done, showing a wide variety of effects. Generally the effects found have been very small and many argue that the studies are poorly done and biased. In pregnancy counselling, women are told repeatedly not to 'do drugs' while pregnant. One important thing to remember is that none of these substances are more harmful than alcohol. If there is one thing to not do while's alcohol. I would not recommend smoking cannabis while pregnant, but in moderation it seems to be less directly harmful than any of the rest.



Asked By : Sy Hall
Answered By : fire
Published Date : 6 / 27 / 1999
Last Edited Date : 9 / 5 / 2004
Question ID : 36

Categories: [ LSD ] [ Cocaine ] [ Cannabis ] [ MDMA (Ecstasy) ] [ Pregnancy ]

Ask Erowid v1.7 - Jul, 2005

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