Effect of maternal cocaine use on the fetus and newborn: review of the literature

Pediatr Neurosci. 1989;15(2):88-94. doi: 10.1159/000120449.


The recent epidemic of cocaine abuse, especially among young individuals, has caused increasing concern about the potential hazards of prenatal cocaine exposure on the developing fetus and newborn. Although large-scale epidemiologic studies and long-term data are lacking, a review of the literature suggests strongly that the popular belief about the relative safety of cocaine is unfounded and that maternal cocaine abuse during pregnancy may be associated with increased perinatal morbidity and mortality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / etiology*
  • Animals
  • Cocaine / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome / etiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications*
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications*


  • Cocaine