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N Engl J Med. 1985 Sep 12;313(11):666-9.

Cocaine use in pregnancy.


With the increasing use of cocaine in the United States, there has been growing concern regarding its effects on the fetuses and neonates of pregnant cocaine abusers. Twenty-three cocaine-using women enrolled in a comprehensive perinatal-addiction program were divided into two groups: those using cocaine only and those using cocaine plus narcotics. These two groups were compared with a group of women who had used narcotics in the past and were maintained on methadone during pregnancy, and with a group of drug-free women. All four groups were similar in maternal age, socioeconomic status, number of pregnancies, and cigarette, marijuana, and alcohol use. Their medical histories indicated that the cocaine-using women had a significantly higher rate of spontaneous abortion than the women in the other two groups. In the pregnancies under study, four cocaine-using women had onset of labor with abruptio placentae immediately after intravenous self-injection of cocaine. Neonatal gestational age, birth weight, length, and head circumference were not affected by cocaine use. However, the Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale revealed that infants exposed to cocaine had significant depression of interactive behavior and a poor organizational response to environmental stimuli (state organization). These preliminary observations suggest that cocaine influences the outcome of pregnancy as well as the neurologic behavior of the newborn, but a full assessment will require a larger number of pregnancies and longer follow-up.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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