Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Fetal Narcotic Syndrome
Elizabeth Mitchell Armstrong
Fetal narcotic syndrome refers to the effects on the fetus and newborn of exposure to illicit substances—particularly cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin—during pregnancy. Narcotic use during pregnancy poses risks to both the woman and the fetus, including miscarriage, poor fetal growth, placental problems, premature delivery, low birth weight, and stillbirth. In addition, infants born after exposure to drugs may develop symptoms of withdrawal, including excessive crying, irritability, trembling, and breathing or gastrointestinal problems. These symptoms, known as “neonatal abstinence syndrome,” are short-lived. National surveys find that about 4 percent of pregnant women in the United States report using illicit drugs. In contrast, ...