October 1973

Early Development of Infants of Heroin-Addicted Mothers

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, and the Newborn Service and High Risk Follow-Up Clinics of Jefferson Davis Hospital, Harris County Hospital District, Houston.

Am J Dis Child. 1973;126(4):457-462. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1973.02110190381004

The course of growth and development of 30 infants of heroin addicts was observed from 3 to 34 months.

Eighty percent had signs of neonatal withdrawal, while 60% continued with subacute withdrawal signs for three to six months.

Behavioral disturbances, predominantly hyperactivity, brief attention span, and temper outbursts, were identified in seven of 14 infants observed one year or longer, while two had neurological abnormality. Growth impairment was associated with behavioral disturbances in four of the seven. These disturbances appear to be unrelated to subsequent environmental factors.

Infants performed at age-appropriate levels on developmental testing.