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Alcohol & Other Drugs

Learn About Substance Use and Pregnancy Reference List

Author: Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research


The list below provides the references to the research studies discussed in Learn About Substance Use and Pregnancy. The references are arranged according to the relevant section where the research is mentioned. Within each section, pertinent sentences are listed in the order they appear in the information sheet. Links to the studies are included if available online. Materials not available online may be accessed through your local library.

What happens when we use substances during pregnancy?

Other things may also affect a growing fetus:

Esper, L. H., & Furtado, E. F. (2014). Identifying maternal risk factors associated with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: A systematic review. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 23(10), 877–89.

Coons, K. (2013). Determinants of drinking during pregnancy and lifespan outcomes for individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Journal of Developmental Disabilities, 193, 15–28.

Substance use during pregnancy may also affect the later development of the infant and child:

Kully-Martens, K., Denys, K., Treit, S., Tamana, S., & Rasmussen, C. (2012). A review of social skills deficits in individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and prenatal alcohol exposure: Profiles, mechanisms, and interventions. Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, 36(4), 568–76.

Lambert, B. L., & Bauer, C. R. (2012). Developmental and behavioral consequences of prenatal cocaine exposure: A review. Journal of Perinatology, 32(11), 819–28.

Ackerman, J. P., Riggins, T., & Black, M. M. (2010). A review of the effects of prenatal cocaine exposure among school-aged children. Pediatrics, 125(3), 554–65.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy:

Butt, P., Beirness, D., Stockwell, T., Gliksman, L., & Paradis, C. (2011). Alcohol and Health in Canada: A Summary of Evidence and Guidelines for Low-Risk Drinking.

Consuming more than moderate levels of caffeine during pregnancy:

Jahanfar, S., & Sh, J. (2013). Effects of restricted caffeine intake by mother on fetal, neonatal and pregnancy outcome: Review. Cochrane Library, (2), 1–19.

Browne, M. L. (2006). Maternal exposure to caffeine and risk of congenital anomalies: A systematic review. Epidemiology, 17(3), 324–31.

Nawrot, P., Jordan, S., Eastwood, J., Rotstein, J., Hugenholtz, A., & Feeley, M. (2003). Effects of caffeine on human health. Food Additives and Contaminants, 20(1), 1–30.

Cannabis use during pregnancy:

Huizink, A. C. (2014). Prenatal cannabis exposure and infant outcomes: Overview of studies. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 52, 45–52.

Fried, P. A., & Smith, A. M. (2001). A literature review of the consequences of prenatal marihuana exposure: An emerging theme of a deficiency in aspects of executive function. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 23, 1–11.

A woman who uses cocaine during pregnancy:

Buckingham-Howes, S., Berger, S. S., Scaletti, L. A, & Black, M. M. (2013). Systematic review of prenatal cocaine exposure and adolescent development. Pediatrics, 131(6), e1917–36.

Lambert, B. L., & Bauer, C. R. (2012). Developmental and behavioral consequences of prenatal cocaine exposure: A review. Journal of Perinatology, 32(11), 819–28.

Gouin, K., Murphy, K., & Shah, P. S. (2011). Effects of cocaine use during pregnancy on low birthweight and preterm birth: Systematic review and metaanalyses. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 204(4), 340.e1–12.

Ackerman, J. P., Riggins, T., & Black, M. M. (2010). A review of the effects of prenatal cocaine exposure among school-aged children. Pediatrics, 125(3), 554–65.

Using heroin during pregnancy:

Baldacchino, A., Arbuckle, K., Petrie, D. J., & McCowan, C. (2014). Neurobehavioral consequences of chronic intrauterine opioid exposure in infants and preschool children: A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Psychiatry, 14, 104.

College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC. (2014). Methadone Maintenance Program: Clinical Practice Guideline.

Lindsay, M. K., & Burnett, E. (2013). The use of narcotics and street drugs during pregnancy. Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, 56(1), 133–41.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2012). Opioid abuse, dependence and addiction in pregnancy: Committe opinion. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 119(524), 1070–1076.

Konijnenberg, C., & Melinder, A. (2011). Prenatal exposure to methadone and buprenorphine: A review of the potential effects on cognitive development. Child Neuropsychology, 17(5), 495–519.

Inhalant use during pregnancy:

Bowen, S. E. (2011). Two serious and challenging medical complications associated with volatile substance misuse: Sudden sniffing death and fetal solvent syndrome. Substance Use and Misuse, 46 Suppl 1, 68–72.

Hannigan, J. H., & Bowen, S. E. (2010). Reproductive toxicology and teratology of abused toluene. Systems Biology in Reproductive Medicine, 56(2), 184–200.

Some prescription medications are safe for use during pregnancy, but some may increase risk:

Bellantuono, C., Tofani, S., Di Sciascio, G., & Santone, G. (2013). Benzodiazepine exposure in pregnancy and risk of major malformations: A critical overview. General Hospital Psychiatry, 35(1), 3–8.

Enato, E., Moretti, M., & Koren, G. (2011). The fetal safety of benzodiazepines: An updated meta-analysis. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, 33(1), 46–48.

Wikner, B. N., Stiller, C.-O., Bergman, U., Asker, C., & Kallen, B. (2007). Use of benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine receptor agonists during pregnancy: Neonatal outcome and congenital malformations. Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, 16(September), 1203–1210.

Iqbal, M. M., Sobham, T., & Ryals, T. (2002). Effects of commonly used benzodiazepines on the fetus , the neonate, and the nursing infant. Psychiatric Services, 53(1), 39–49.

Dolovich, L. R., Addis, A., Vaillancourt, J. M. R., Power, J. D. B., & Koren, G. (1998). Benzodiazepine use in pregnancy and major malformations or oral cleft: Meta-analyisis of cohort and case control studies. British Medical Journal, 317(September), 839–843.

Using methamphetamine during pregnancy:

Diaz, S. D., Smith, L. M., LaGasse, L. L., Derauf, C., Newman, E., Shah, R., et al. (2014). Effects of prenatal methamphetamine exposure on behavioral and cognitive findings at 7.5 years of age. The Journal of Pediatrics, 164(6), 1333–8.

Kwiatkowski, M. a, Roos, A., Stein, D. J., Thomas, K. G. F., & Donald, K. (2014). Effects of prenatal methamphetamine exposure: A review of cognitive and neuroimaging studies. Metabolic Brain Disease, 29(2), 245–54.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2011). Methamphetamine abuse in women of reproductive age. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 117(479), 751–755.

Nguyen, D., Smith, L. M., Lagasse, L. L., Derauf, C., Grant, P., Shah, R., et al. (2010). Intrauterine growth of infants exposed to prenatal methamphetamine: Results from the infant development, environment, and lifestyle study. Journal of Pediatrics, 157(2), 337–9.

Few studies have been conducted on the effects of MDMA during pregnancy:

Singer, L. T., Moore, D. G., Fulton, S., Goodwin, J., Turner, J. J. D., Min, M. O., & Parrott, A. C. (2012). Neurobehavioral outcomes of infants exposed to MDMA (Ecstasy) and other recreational drugs during pregnancy. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 34(3), 303–10.

Singer, L. T., Moore, D. G., Min, M. O., Goodwin, J., Turner, J. J. D., Fulton, S., & Parrott, A. C. (2012). One-year outcomes of prenatal exposure to MDMA and other recreational drugs. Pediatrics, 130(3), 407–13.

Smoking during pregnancy:

Tiesler, C. M. T., & Heinrich, J. (2014). Prenatal nicotine exposure and child behavioural problems. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 23(10), 913–29.

Clifford, A., Lang, L., & Chen, R. (2012). Effects of maternal cigarette smoking during pregnancy on cognitive parameters of children and young adults: A literature review. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 34(6), 560–70.

Salmasi, G., Grady, R., Jones, J., & McDonald, S. D. (2010). Environmental tobacco smoke exposure and perinatal outcomes: A systematic review and meta-analyses. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 89(4), 423–41.

Pineles, B. L., Park, E., & Samet, J. M. (2014). Systematic review and meta-analysis of miscarriage and maternal exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy. American Journal of Epidemiology, 179(7), 807–23.

Andres, R. L., & Day, M. C. (2000). Perinatal complications associated with maternal tobacco use. Seminars in Neonatology, 5(3), 231–41.


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The Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research, formerly CARBC, is a member of the BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information. The institute is dedicated to the study of substance use in support of community-wide efforts aimed at providing all people with access to healthier lives, whether using substances or not. For more, visit


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