The newborn infants of 56 mothers who used cocaine were prospectively studied in to determine the effects of cocaine. There were no differences with respect to maternal preeclampsia or cesarean section rate. Meconium-stained amniotic fluid was increased (10 of 56 cases [17.8%]) compared with the control group (3 of 56 cases [5.3%]) (x2 = 4.2, P < .05). Fetal distress recorded with fetal monitoring and Apgar scores at 1 and 5 minutes were similar. The weight, length, and head circumference growth curves of the infants born to cocaine-using mothers were shifted below the 25th percentile. Microcephaly was present in 12 of 56 (21.4%) infants whose mothers used cocaine during pregnancy (x2 = 5.96, P < .01), and 15 of 56 (26.7%) had intrauterine growth retardation (x2 = 9.53, P < .01) compared with the control infants (2 of 5 [3.5%] and 3 of 56 [5.3%], respectively). There was no increase in teratogenicity. Neither narcotic withdrawal symptoms nor illness could distinguish the infants born of cocaine-using mothers from the control infants. In conclusion, cocaine use during pregnancy results in newborn infants with growth retardation and microcephaly.
- Received November 14, 1988.
- Accepted January 17, 1989.
- Copyright © 1989 by the American Academy of Pediatrics