Assessment of the newborn with antenatal exposure to drugs

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This chapter deals with assessment of newborn with antenatal exposure to drugs. A thorough assessment of newborn involves evaluation for possible in utero exposure to tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and other pharmacologic agents either prescribed or from illicit use. Recognizing varying risks associated with specific substances used in utero will aid the provider in providing appropriate support and care for each newborn and family impacted by substance use disorders. A newborn exposed to in utero cigarette smoke may demonstrate jitteriness and hypertonicity from exposure to nicotine. There is no specific withdrawal syndrome reported in newborns exposed to in utero cocaine. Antenatal exposure to cocaine has significant impact on fetal growth due to restriction of placental blood flow resulting in decreased birth weight, length, and head circumference in term newborns. Newborns exposed to marijuana prenatally have an association with decreased executive functioning skills including poor impulse control, visual memory, and attention deficit.

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