A 10-year study conducted through the University of California illustrates a high correlation between the use of drugs in a mother while a child is in utero and the outbreak of severe behavior problems later in the child’s life. The study points to a saddening but not surprising issue: the long-term consequences of drug use by pregnant women.
Each mother and child will have a large amount of variability within their lives: neighborhoods, family, friends, genetics, length of drug use, type of drug used and social economic status. These variables make conclusive evidence impossible, but a significant correlation has been established that indicates long-term behavioral risks due to the continued use of drugs during pregnancy.
It’s relatively common knowledge that there are a number of significant short-term risks when a pregnant woman abuses drugs or alcohol. Far too often, however, women may believe they can “beat the odds” and take risks they will later come to regret. Some of the short-term consequences caused by the use of illicit substances while pregnant include but are not limited to:
- Possibility of miscarriage
- Increased risk of birth defects
- Premature birth
- Increased risk of still birth
- Increased risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)
Study Findings of Long-Term Consequences
Research related to both the long- and short-term consequences of drug use by pregnant women has been of interest to scientists for quite some time. While absolutism is an impossibility because of the variables surrounding the human experience, researchers have been able to illustrate a variety of unsettling correlations. Listed below are just a couple of the issues connected to in utero exposure to drugs and alcohol:
- A study entitled “Short- and long-term adverse effects of cocaine abuse during pregnancy on the heart development,” conducted by Kurt Meyer and Lubo Zhang, illustrated the significant short- and long-term consequences of cocaine use to the developing baby’s heart.
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published a study called “Opioid Abuse, Dependence and Addiction in Pregnancy” that illustrated an association between first-trimester use of codeine and congenital heart defects in the unborn child.
Don’t Become a Statistic
New studies are coming out every day that further isolate, connect, and identify the struggles the children experience due to the drug use of their mothers and fathers. If drug abuse is a problem for someone you love who has children, you can help to mitigate that harm when you help the addicted person enroll in a treatment program that can help. Call now for assistance.