Alcohol, smoking and other drugs

If you need help to keep yourself and your baby healthy and free of harmful substances like alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, we are here to support you. Reach out to one of our community programs:

Or call your Public Health Nurse for more resources. If you are trying to have healthy pregnancy, we will not judge your past decisions. Please reach out for help.


Quitting smoking isn’t easy. We know. However, smoking during pregnancy, or being exposed to second-hand smoke can have serious consequences. As difficult as it may be, it’s important to quit smoking as quickly as possible to help prevent:

• Miscarriage
• Birth defects
• Premature birth and the resulting complications
• Stillbirth

Luckily, help is available and you don’t need to go through this difficult process alone. Getting professional help will improve your chances of quitting for good, so don’t be afraid to reach out.

• Talk to your health care provider about options that might work for you
• Join a stop smoking program or support group
• Take advantage of VCH resources to help you stop smoking
• Get help at the QuitNow website


Every time you drink while pregnant, you’re baby does too. Since there is no safe amount to drink, it’s best to avoid alcohol entirely during your pregnancy. Alcohol during pregnancy can lead to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), which means serious developmental, emotional and physical consequences for your baby.

Even if you drank before you knew you were pregnant, there is still time to do the right thing. The best thing you can do is to not drink at all; the second-best thing you can do is to stop today. If you need help to stop, that’s okay.

• Talk to your health care provider about your drinking
• Surround yourself with people who will support you in not drinking

Medications and street drugs

Medications, marijuana and street drugs can all be dangerous during pregnancy. Different drugs have different effects, but few are safe.

• Talk to your health care provider or pharmacist about any over-the-counter or prescription medications you want to take.
• If you are taking marijuana for medicinal purposes, talk to your doctor about the risk factors of premature birth, low birth weight and developmental delays. Avoid recreational marijuana use entirely.
• Avoid street drugs entirely. Not only do you risk serious complication, your baby could be born addicted to the drug you take.

If you used medications, marijuana or street drugs before you knew you were pregnant, there is still time to make the right choices moving forward.

Learn more about alcohol, medications and other drugs at the Motherisk website or call them at toll-free at 1.877.327.4636 Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.