Brain growth among fetuses exposed to cocaine in utero: Asymmetrical growth retardation

B. B. Little, L. M. Snell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Fetal growth retardation may be associated with maternal cocaine use during pregnancy. The pattern of fetal growth retardation was analyzed in infants born to 80 women who used cocaine, but not alcohol, during pregnancy, and in two comparison groups: 100 infants born to mothers who used neither alcohol nor cocaine during pregnancy and 67 infants whose mothers used alcohol but not cocaine during pregnancy. There were statistically significant differences in head size between the unexposed and cocaine-exposed infants (P < .001). Notably, head circumference was reduced proportionately more than birth weight in cocaine-exposed infants, a pattern similar to that observed in alcohol-exposed infants. Alcohol- and cocaine-exposed infants were not statistically different in head circumference. We conclude that brain growth of cocaine-exposed infants is similar to that reported for alcohol-exposed infants, and that cocaine exposed infants may be characterized as having asymmetrical growth retardation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-364
Number of pages4
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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