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what are the affects on a baby who is born to a mother who smokes crack

By Anonymous December 21, 2009 - 7:59am
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My friend has a grand child who is about to be born and the mother doesn't want the baby and wants the grandmother to take it The parents are big in to crack so my friend wants to know what to expect

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Welcome to EmpowHER, and thank you so much for your question.

Your friend is a wonderful person to take this baby into her home. I feel sympathy for your friend and all the members of the family, especially the baby.

Sadly, depending on how much crack the mother has done while pregnant, the baby may be addicted also. Everything the mother takes into her body can affect the fetus growing inside her.

In the very worst cases, a baby can be stillborn, affected by such things as preterm labor, premature rupture of the membranes, and early dislodging of the placenta. The baby may be born prematurely and may very likely be underweight, since mothers who do crack often ignore their nutritional needs. Researchers worry about the affect of the drug on the fetal brain and central nervous system. It's also possible to have physical defects.

The babies can show symptoms of withdrawal -- crying and irritability for no apparent reason -- for several weeks after birth. Later on, they may be hyperactive and frustrated more easily than another baby might. They might not focus on tasks as well and they may show some motor control problems.

I know all that sounds scary, but the good news? Many crack babies can get over the effects and develop normally, catching up with their peers relatively quickly. The best thing that is happening to this baby is that she or he is getting out of the home where the crack is used.

From a Do It Now foundation article on such babies about how to care for them:

Experts recommend that caregivers focus on three main areas:

* Avoid overstimulation. Crack babies are often fussy and irritable, particularly when overstimulated. Dimming bright lights and reducing loud noises and other distractions can help.
* Be gentle. Crack babies may dislike being picked up and held, but it's important that they feel human contact. Experts advise a light touch when changing diapers or at meal time.
* Be patient. If a baby is born addicted to crack, withdrawal symptoms can persist for up to four months. Other problems can last even longer. Patience is a particular virtue in caring for a crack baby, no matter how cranky the baby may be.

Here's that full article:

Here's a great article from Dr.Spock.com on caring for babies exposed to crack:


Here's an article that will make you see how wonderfully these babies can "catch up:"


Do these things help? Please come back and update us on how things go.

December 21, 2009 - 8:25am
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