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Effects of Prenantal Drug Abuse

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Introduction

Prenatal drug abuse is a very tragic, yet preventable issue in our society. For a pregnant woman, drug abuse is doubly dangerous. Drugs may harm her own health, interfering with her ability to support the pregnancy. Also, some drugs can directly impair prenatal development. All illegal drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, pose dangers to a pregnant woman. Legal substances, such as alcohol and tobacco, are also dangerous, and even medical drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, can be harmful. For her own health and the health of the child, a woman should avoid all of them as much as possible from the time she first plans to become pregnant or learns that she is pregnant. A mother who uses drugs risks her life and her baby's. When a pregnant woman uses drugs, she and her unborn child face serious health problems. During pregnancy, the drugs used by the mother can enter directly into the baby's bloodstream. ...read more.

Middle

This article was mostly based on shocking statistics, such as reports showing that "over 18% of pregnant women are smokers and continue to smoke throughout their pregnancy" (Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly, 2005). Cocaine abuse during pregnancy not only harms the mother, but also may cause problems with the child's gross and fine motor skills. Cocaine also affects a child's attention, alertness, and IQ. "At 3 years, the exposed children scored lower on an intelligence test than did unexposed children, were more restless, had shorter attention spans and less focused attention, and made more attempts to distract the examiner than did children who were not exposed to cocaine before birth" (Zickler, 1999). The affects of prenatal cocaine abuse in children are primarily associated with their attention patterns (Gendle, 2004). Studies using cocaine-exposed animals showed the negative affects of cocaine on attention skills. The cocaine-exposed animals were more easily distracted than the healthy animals, and they also learned slower (Gendle, 2004). ...read more.

Conclusion

Reflexes are the unlearned, organized, voluntary responses that occur automatically in the presence of certain stimuli. A baby needs to develop both their gross and fine motor skills, or else they won't be able to crawl, walk, or pick up anything. By researching this topic, I have learned the consequences for prenatal drug abuse, and also some startling statistics. Out of all the prenatal drug abusing women, 70% of these women are African American (Roberts, 1991). In addition, Black women are more likely to be denied custody of their children because they are perceived by child-welfare agencies to be "unfit mothers". D.E. Roberts, the author of "Mother as martyr - poor Afro-American women bearing crack-addicted babies need better prenatal care, not prosecution for drug abuse " also acknowledged that since poor African American women are in closer contact with government agencies and give birth in public hospitals, their drug use is more likely to be detected. "They are also more likely to be reported to government authorities because of discriminatory hospital screening practices and the stereotyped assumptions of health-care professionals" (Roberts, 1991). ...read more.

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