DR. WALLACE: I'm 19, pregnant and not married. I plan to have the baby and raise the child by myself because the baby's father is really hooked on drugs. I am through with him and I do not want him to be involved with my child in any way.
Because of him, I have been using cocaine recreationally for some time and I plan to stop very soon. I only do it about twice a week because I did not want to be using cocaine every day - just twice a week. My baby is due in another couple of months, and I need to know if my using cocaine will cause any discomfort or complications for the baby. — Nameless, Oakland, Calif.
NAMELESS: Don't stop your cocaine use "very soon" — STOP IT IMMEDIATELY!! Do you understand me? You are causing your fetus far more than "discomfort." You could even be killing it. I'm shocked and saddened because you do not know this!
Those women who become pregnant while addicted to, and using cocaine, are at a dangerous risk of complications, ranging from premature birth to miscarriage and stillbirth. Babies born to mothers who use cocaine may also have low birth weight and experience delayed development before and even after their birth.
"Cocaine increases the heart rate in both the mother and the baby, and the supply of oxygen and blood to the baby is reduced," according to the Australian Drug Federation web site. "Because of the reduced supply, the baby is more likely to be small and grow slowly. Several cases of bleeding in the brain have been reported in babies whose mothers were dependent on cocaine."
In addition, "Withdrawal symptoms can occur in the babies of mothers who use cocaine regularly."
Get the message? Find the help you need to stop your drug use now, before you do further damage to the precious life you are nurturing. You have no other choice!
THE WINNERS GET A FROZEN YOGURT
DR. WALLACE: Our family is very health-conscious and we eat low-fat, nourishing meals and we all exercise regularly. My dad and older brother are joggers and my mother and I are walkers. All of us jog or walk two miles every day.
My dad and brother keep telling Mom and me that they're burning off more calories than we are, but my mom disagrees and, naturally, so do I. Mom says that since we both go two miles, we burn off the same amount of calories. Will you please settle this friendly dispute? The winners get a low-fat frozen yogurt cone. — Nameless, Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.
NAMELESS: It seems like joggers should burn more calories, but my research tells me that they don't. Joggers, runners and walkers all burn off the same number of calories per mile: 100. In the case of your family, all four members burn 200 calories. It's just that it takes a few minutes longer for you and your mom to get rid of them.
Enjoy the treat!
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. E-mail him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.