ALCOHOL AND NICOTINE IN PREGNANCY
DOES SMOKING OR DRINKING ALCOHOL HARM MY BABY?
Both alcohol and nicotine use at any time in pregnancy have well-documented negative effects on prenatal brain development. Adolescent problems with aggression and school truancy have been traced to maternal alcohol use in pregnancy.
What about Chantix (varenicline) or Wellbutrin (bupropion)? Varenicline, like nicotine replacement, works by blocking receptors activated by choline in the baby’s brain. We therefore do not recommend varenicline. Bupropion is a better choice. It has proven safe in pregnancy and will help about one-third of mothers quit during pregnancy, provided that they take the drug throughout the rest of their pregnancy.
WHAT ABOUT NICOTINE PATCHES, GUM, OR VAPING?
Nicotine is the offending agent regardless of how it is delivered, from cigarettes or nicotine replacement patches or gum. Nicotine adversely affects fetal brain development and later childhood behavior.
CAN CHOLINE OR PRENATAL VITAMINS HELP?
Higher levels of choline positively affect the baby’s brain development, even in the presence of smoking. Choline targets the receptors that nicotine blocks. Choline with prenatal vitamins has also been shown to block some adverse effects of alcohol on the baby’s brain development.