When you become pregnant, your doctor will administer a wide range of tests. Most of these tests will be done to make sure there are no complications that could negatively affect your pregnancy. For example, your doctor will check your blood pressure, your glucose levels and your weight to make sure your baby’s development won’t be hindered by any conditions you may have. In addition to these health tests, some states also require a mandatory drug test as soon as a woman becomes pregnant. If you are in one such state, you might initially be offended that your doctor thinks you’ve been doing drugs, but you should understand how important the tests are for women who have drug problems.

Studies show that babies born to mothers who were doing illegal drugs such as cocaine will have serious health problems. These problems include preterm birth and dangerously low birth weight. These problems are only the ones caused by the drug themselves, and they don’t even include the problems caused by the health problems that a drug-using mother already has. In states where prenatal drug testing is required, many also require that the doctor report the drug use. When the abuse is reported, the mother might loose her parental rights to a child as soon as she gives birth. The tests are also conducted in an attempt to help mothers-to-be that have serious drug problems. If a woman can’t stop doing drugs when she conceives, there is a good chance the problem has gotten out of control and she is in need of professional help. When doctors test a woman who is positive for prenatal drug use, they can recommend counseling services and support groups to her to help her kick the habit and return to a normal lifestyle, if only for the well being of her child.

As you can see, drug tests are an important part of pregnancy testing. Though you may never have touched a drug in your life, understand that universal testing can help prevent babies from being born into neglect and abuse from mothers who are addicted to drugs. By testing every woman, doctors can be sure that the use of illegal drugs won’t be kept a secret during the pregnancy, and they can intervene accordingly. If your state requires drug testing when you become pregnant, just think of it as one of the many health tests.

Source: Katy Gouin et al: Effects of Cocaine Use During Pregnancy on Low Birth Weight and Preterm Birth. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Volume 204 Issue 4 pp. 340 April 2011