Developmental and behavioral consequences of prenatal cocaine exposure: A review

B. L. Lambert, C. R. Bauer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Substance use among pregnant women continues to be a major public health concern, posing potential risk to their drug-exposed children as well as burdens on society. This review is intended to discuss the most recent literature regarding the association between in utero cocaine exposure and developmental and behavioral outcomes from birth through adolescence across various domains of functioning (growth, neurobiology, intelligence, academic achievement, language, executive functioning, behavioral regulation and psychopathology). In addition, methodological limitations, associated biological, sociodemographic and environmental risk factors and future directions in this area of research are discussed. Given the large number of exposed children in the child welfare system and the increased need for medical, mental health and special education services within this population, more definitively documenting associations between prenatal cocaine exposure and later child outcomes is essential in order to be able to prospectively address the many significant public health, economic and public policy implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)819-828
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Perinatology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Behavior
  • cocaine
  • development
  • high-risk population
  • prenatal exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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