The Medical and Developmental Consequences of Prenatal Drug Exposure. Howell, Karen K; Coles, Claire D; Kable, Julie. Brick, John (Ed). (2004). Handbook of the medical consequences of alcohol and drug abuse. (pp. 281-302). New York, NY, US: Haworth Press, Inc.. xviii, 329 pp.
This chapter addresses the medical and developmental consequences of prenatal exposure to commonly used drugs during pregnancy, such as nicotine, cocaine, and marijuana. The impact of opiate use during pregnancy is also discussed. Both the direct impact of the teratogenic agent as well as social and environmental factors which influence the expression of these agents are presented. When available, the effects of these substances on the growth, cognition, behavior, and social-emotional development of the prenatally exposed child are addressed. Children of mothers who abuse drugs during pregnancy are affected by a range of biological and environmental factors. At the present time, it is clear that there are negative effects of substance abuse on fetal development and family function and that these consequences must be addressed. The physical and behavioral problems seen in children with prenatal exposure to drugs are the result of many related factors such as poverty, exposure to violence, and lack of access to medical and social services. These factors likely interact with the initial prenatal drug exposure to negatively impact long-term developmental outcomes for the child.
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