Prenatal Substance Abuse Still Worldwide Problem, Study Finds

Smoking. Drinking alcohol. Illegal drug use.

Despite educational campaigns to discourage these behaviors, prenatal substance abuse continues to be a problem worldwide, according to a technical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“Early in pregnancy, fetal malformations may occur while, later in pregnancy, it is the developing fetal brain that is more vulnerable to injury,” states a news release from the academy.

Alcohol, which is the most-often studied drug, can cause “restricted fetal growth, congenital abnormalities, behavioral problems, poor memory and intellectual disabilities.”

Smoking while pregnant can affect “brain development issues, cognition, language, achievement and long-term behavior,” the release states.

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