The Effects of Prenatal Cocaine-Exposure On Cognitive Development

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There are many factors that are integrated into the successful development of a child from Prenatal growth into toddlerhood. Teratogens (outside factors) have a great impact on the babies’ inutero development. Some outside factors like second-hand smoke, smog, or fumes from cleaning chemicals can cause negative effects on the child inside the womb. A few major affects from teratogens could result in low birth weight, head circumference, slow physical growth as well as an effect on mental, behavioral and motor skills (Berk, 2003). The environment around the mother provides many of these outside factors affecting the baby’s growth. But the main link to teratogens during the gestation period is most likely the mother. Daniel S. Messinger and …show more content…
Patients with abruptio placentae typically have uterine bleeding, contractions, and fetal distress (2004). With the fetal distress just mentioned, cognitive growth as well as physical growth could be considerably affected. This condition has the rate of 13-35% of occurrence with cocaine abuse during pregnancy (Deering, 2004). Hypertension (increased blood pressure) and increased levels of catecholamines (neurotransmitters or hormones in the brain) are results of cocaine use and are thought to be responsible for a vasospasm (sudden constriction of a blood vessel) in the uterine blood vessels that causes placental separation (Deering, 2004).
Along with this possible condition resulting from cocaine abuse during pregnancy, one could imagine what other affects cocaine has on the fetus during its critical periods of development. Prenatal cocaine exposure is linked to many risk factors, one of which is impairment in the child’s cognitive development. Laura E. Berk states in her section on “Prenatal environmental influences”, that from the third week of pregnancy, the critical period for the central nervous system – including the brain- begins (2005). With this in mind, the child’s cognitive development could be affected from the very beginning of the central nervous system’s development to the actual

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