Data, statistics, public policy research and other information related to pregnancy and substance use.
("Fetal Protection" Movement) "The American 'fetal protection' movement is unique among developed and developing nations. While other nations also have populations of poor women whose lives are highly dysfunctional or who are addicted to alcohol and other drugs, only in the United States are these women treated as criminals or civilly committed based on their conduct while pregnant. Only in the United States do prosecutors take the position that embryos and fetuses should be protected as full human beings while in utero.
(Tobacco and Fetal Development) "Maternal smoking during pregnancy produces adverse effects for the fetus through several pathways. First, cigarette smoke interferes with normal placental function. As metabolites of cigarette smoke pass through the placenta from mother to fetus, they act as vasoconstrictors to reduce uterine blood flow by up to 38% . The fetus is deprived of nutrients and oxygen, resulting in episodic fetal hypoxia-ischemia and malnutrition .
(Moderate Alcohol Consumption) "We found that alcohol consumption up to moderate levels had no independent effects on weight or HC [head circumference] at birth, and there was no evidence of longer-term effects at 5 years. There was an apparent effect of binge drinking on birth weight, but this was due to confounding by cigarette use. Cigarette exposure, not binge drinking, adversely affected HC and birth weight."
(Neonatal Drug Testing) "Urine, hair, and meconium samples are sensitive biological markers of substance use. Urine drug screening can detect only recent substance exposure, while neonatal hair and meconium testing can document intrauterine use because meconium and hair form in the second and third trimester, respectively.38–41 By itself, a single positive test result cannot be used to diagnose substance dependence.
(Effects of Maternal Alcohol Use) "Alcohol is a potent teratogen with a range of negative outcomes to the fetus, including low birthweight, cognitive deficiencies, and fetal alcohol disorders.15"
(Inadequate Prenatal Care and Illicit Drug Use) "Many economic, psychosocial, behavioral, biological, and health services factors have been implicated in these adverse perinatal outcomes.14,15 Among them are two that seem to be inextricably associated, namely low levels of PNC [inadequate prenatal care] utilization and exposure to IDU [illicit drug use] in pregnancy.16–21 The overlap between these factors is evident in the population we studied, with a prevalence of 4.2% IDU in mothers with adequate PNC, 26.2% in women with inadequate PNC, and
(Risk From Heavy Use) "The popular preception is that any prenatal exposure to cocaine is almost certainly associated with devastating effects on the neonate. However, these data suggest that most potentially detrimental effects (including neonatal size,38 neonatal behavior,12,13 and central nervous system lesions47) of prenatal cocaine exposure occur disproportionately among the heaviest users, a phenomenon also noted for alcohol and cigarette exposure.23"
(Compensatory Effects of Environmental Intervention) "After controlling for confounding variables, prenatal cocaine exposure was not associated with lower full-scale, verbal, or performance IQ scores at age 4 years, but did predict significant deficits in specific cognitive skills underlying intellectual functioning and attenuated the incidence of IQ scores above the normative mean, even for children in better home environments.