Impact of maternal substance use during pregnancy on childhood outcome

Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, USA. <>
Seminars in Fetal and Neonatal Medicine (Impact Factor: 3.03). 05/2007; 12(2):143-50. DOI: 10.1016/j.siny.2007.01.002
Source: PubMed


The impact of maternal substance abuse is reflected in the 2002-2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Among pregnant women in the 15-44 age group, 4.3%, 18% and 9.8% used illicit drugs, tobacco and alcohol, respectively. Maternal pregnancy complications following substance use include increases in sexually transmitted disorders, placental abruption and HIV-positive status. Effects on the neonate include a decrease in growth parameters and increases in central nervous system and autonomic nervous system signs and in referrals to child protective agencies. In childhood, behavioral and cognitive effects are seen after prenatal cocaine exposure; tobacco and alcohol have separate and specific effects. The ongoing use of alcohol and tobacco by the caretaker affects childhood behavior. Therefore, efforts should be made to prevent and treat behavioral problems as well as to limit the onset of drug use by adolescent children born to women who use drugs during pregnancy.

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    • "). Drug or alcohol use during pregnancy can have a negative impact medically and socially on both the mother and newborn (Shankaran et al., 2007; Terplan & Wright, 2011). Integrated treatment during pregnancy as well as early intervention for the newborn can ameliorate these negative effects (Meyer et al., 2012; Niccols et al., 2012; Peadon, Rhys-Jones, Bower, & Elliott, 2009). "
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    • "The epidemic of cocaine use [Elliot and Coker, 1991] has raised significant public attention to adolescents prenatally exposed to cocaine [Derauf et al., 2009; Frank et al., 2001; Lester and Padbury, 2009; Shankaran et al., 2007]. Prenatal cocaine exposure (PCE) affected adolescents are associated with deficits in intelligence, language skills, executive Liu, 2011; Zhu et al., 2011, 2012, in press]. "
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    • "In our study cohort there were no differences in maternal age or in the number of mothers with hypertension and gestational diabetes, therefore the changes observed in the placental circulation must be attributed to the effects of the drugs of abuse. Substance abuse by pregnant women has been associated with a decrease of prenatal care, maternal malnutrition and increased incidence of infections such as HBV or HCV, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases [10] [13] [17] [52] [53]. The results of our study also point in this direction. "
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