Abuse Of Illegal Drugs And Alcohol Intake During Pregnancy And It's Effects On Babies

2908 words - 12 pages

The abuse of drugs and alcohol during pregnancy causes much alarm to society. A lot of crimes, violence, and mental retardation and physical defects result from the abuse. Pro-life organizations and advocates, doctors and medical researchers have tried to work hand in hand to study and expose the ill effects of pre-natal exposure to drugs. More are concerned with the physical and psychological effects of drugs and alcohol on children.To discuss this issue more thoroughly, this paper will be divided into several parts: (1) background of the study; (2) the effects of pre-natal exposure to prohibited drugs; (3) effects of too much alcohol intake; and (4) other factors that may prevent ...view middle of the document...

1992).There have been different assessments in the number of pregnant women exposed to drugs. According to Gombi and Shiono in 1991, more than 739,000 women each year use one or more illegal substance during a pregnancy. About 1-4.5 % of children are prenatally exposed to cocaine each year. Marijuana is the most used drug during pregnancy, which ranges from 3-20% annually. However, prenatal exposure to alcohol far surpasses the use of drugs. The estimate shows that women give birth to more than 2.6 million infants exposed to alcohol every year.Other studies support the widespread use of illegal drugs and alcohol by pregnant women:* 4.5 million (7.7 percent) women of childbearing age in the U.S. have used an illicit drug in the past month, including 601,000 cocaine users and 3.3 million who have used marijuana. Many more are heavy drinkers (NIDA, 1991).* Childbearing-age women comprise the majority of women who use drugs (Yamaguchi & Kandel 1987).* Women who use illicit drugs other than marijuana have a premarital pregnancy rate twice that of those who do not (Yamaguchi & Kandel 1987).* The majority of women entering drug treatment programs have children (Deren 1986).In addition to the above mentioned, it is interesting to note that"research on a woman's consumption of alcohol and other drugs, once she knows she is pregnant, is inconclusive. Factors such as substance, age, socioeconomic status, and the presence of prenatal care may all affect consumption. Serdula et al. (1991) found that, while the overall rate of women who drink during pregnancy declined during the mid-1980s, the rate among less-educated women or those under the age of 25 remained the same."PRE-NATAL EXPOSURE TO ILLICIT DRUGS AND ITS EFFECTSIn this chapter, I will limit the drugs used to discuss their effects on pre-natal babies. These drugs are cocaine, opiates, Phencyclidine Hydrochloride (PCP), and marijuana. I will also give the effects of the use of mixed substances during pregnancy. However, we have to know that there is no conclusion on the effects of these aforementioned drugs. The only thing that I can present is the initial studies.Cocaine's effects are subject to controversy, but the following are the general findings on its effect on pre-natal babies exposed to this substance: (1) Increased risk of stillbirth; (2) premature delivery; (3) premature detachment of placenta; (4) meconium staining or the dark green mucilaginous material in the intestine of the full-term fetus; (5) smaller-than-normal head size and low birth weight; (6) low scores in the assessment of condition of the new-born; and (7) disorganized behavioral states in the prenate and neonate.Besides the above mentioned, "some studies indicate that the effects of prenatal cocaine exposure (including suspected neurological abnormalities, low birth weight, and the consequences of withdrawal) normalize within the first year after birth, preliminary reports from one longitudinal study found that 30...

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