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Short and Long Term Affects on Fetal and Child Development When Exposed to Cocaine in Utero - Essay Example

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My sister is pregnant and using cocaine regularly. I have explained to her that this is harmful and potentially fatal to her unborn child, but she feels that I am exaggerating. Upon researching the short and long term affects of cocaine to an unborn baby, I have accumulated the following information to provide her with…
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Short and Long Term Affects on Fetal and Child Development When Exposed to Cocaine in Utero

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Another aspect of self regulation is heart rate: “Specifically, HR is predictive of later cognitive development and may impact reactivity to external stressors. An elevated resting HR is indicative of a higher level of physiological
arousal which impacts both the quality and quantity of infant responsiveness to stimulation” (Schuetze 2006). Clearly, an elevated infant heart rate can be indicative of over-stimulation and a precursor to later cognitive developmental delays. Other aspects of self regulation or homeostasis that are thought to be affected by cocaine use in utero are respiration, blood pressure, sleep patterns, and body temperature.
Studies have also indicated that cocaine use by pregnant women reduces blood flow to the placenta and causes fetal vasoconstriction. The placenta is the virtual nutrient source for the fetus. Adequate blood flow to the placenta and overall placental health are critical to fetal health. Cocaine is responsible for inducing the release of certain body chemicals called serotonin and/or epinephrine. The release of these two chemicals has a direct affect on vascular tone and therefore affects the vascular health of the fetus as well as the placental blood flow.
Fetuses which develop in utero with a less than healthy placenta experience both short and long term developmental effects as well as defects. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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