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  1. D'Apolito, Karen PhD, RN
  2. Hepworth, Joseph T. PhD


The problem of licit and illicit drug use during pregnancy continues to be a major perinatal health issue in this country. It is estimated that 200,000 infants are born each year to women who used illegal drugs while they are pregnant. Much information is available regarding the physiologic and neurobehavioral signs and symptoms of withdrawal expressed in infants exposed in utero to individual substances such as heroin, marijuana, methadone, alcohol, barbiturates, and PCP. However, little information is available related to the signs and symptoms of withdrawal observed in infants exposed to many combinations of these drugs prenatally. Additionally, few reports discuss the most prominent signs and symptoms of withdrawal in infants exposed to one or many drugs in utero. This article describes the results of a study that provides new information regarding the most prominent signs and symptoms of withdrawal exhibited by infants exposed to polydrugs, such as alcohol, opiates, stimulants, and sedatives, during pregnancy.