Perinatal and neonatal issues of substance abuse

Pediatr Clin North Am. 1995 Apr;42(2):261-81. doi: 10.1016/s0031-3955(16)38946-5.


Substance abuse during pregnancy can be teratogenic for the fetus and can cause decreased growth parameters in the newborn infant. Short-term and long-term neurobehavioral problems have been documented also in babies born to substance-abusing mothers. The problem of substance abuse during pregnancy and its effects on the fetus is unique in medicine in that it is 100% preventable. Physicians will need to take an active role in leading society to take action in preventing substance abuse during pregnancy, and emphasis on this action should occur long before the woman becomes pregnant. Until medical schools and residency programs take responsibility for teaching the importance of preventing substance abuse and of identifying the substance-abuser, drug and alcohol use will continue to exact its tragic toll on future generations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / etiology
  • Developmental Disabilities / chemically induced
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome / chemically induced
  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome / therapy
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications* / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications* / prevention & control
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control