Prenatal cocaine exposure and prematurity: Neurodevelopmental growth

Kimberly Andrews Espy, David J. Francis, Marilyn L. Riese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The consequences of prematurity and prenatal cocaine exposure on early neurobehavior and physical growth were examined longitudinally in a sample of 20 cocaine-exposed and 20 non-exposed preterm neonates The magnitude of the difference in physical growth acceleration related to prenatal cocaine exposure increased with increasing birth gestational age, whereas growth rate differences in irritability decreased. In contrast, prenatal cocaine exposure, independent of prematurity, was related to reduced attention skills at 36 weeks conceptional age and increased rates of neurobehavioral change. The effects of prenatal cocaine exposure differed with respect to the degree of prematurity, depending on the nature of the outcome examined, suggesting differing windows of vulnerability for different outcome domains. The usefulness of a developmental growth perspective was demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-270
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Growth
  • Neurobehavioral development
  • Prematurity
  • Prenatal cocaine exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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