The Effects of Prenatal Cocaine Exposure on Infant Development

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The effects of prenatal cocaine exposure on infant development Essentially, there are two occurrences in one’s life that are both guaranteed to happen and are entirely out of one’s control: birth and death. The conditions under which we enter this world can present issues that remain with us until we depart from it. When seeking reproduction, it is the mother’s responsibility to do everything within her power to ensure that her child is born in the healthiest possible state so that his or her chance of a healthy survival is maximized. However, without proper knowledge of the harmful effects that certain substances can have on the future development of an unborn child, it becomes difficult to clarify one’s behavior as unhealthy and/or damaging. Addiction, as powerful of a force as it can be, does not overpower the maternal instinct that many women feel, but can lead to current and future negative effects on the physical, cognitive and behavioral development of a child. More specifically, when children are exposed to cocaine in utero through the drug use and abuse of their mothers, the effects on their infant development can be highly detrimental. Focusing exclusively on infant development as opposed to other developmental time periods allows one to examine the abnormalities that arise in prenatally exposed children at a time when much physical and mental change is occurring. By becoming aware of the physical, cognitive and temperamental effects that prenatal cocaine exposure has on infant development, the hope is that drug-abusing mothers will consider the future health of their unborn child before continuing their abuse. While much research has been done on the effects of prenatal cocaine exposure on fetal development, substantially little has examined the effects on infant development. Infancy is a critical time period for the development of crucial parts
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