U.S. doctors online nowAsk doctors free
A 47-year-old member asked:

Can hard drug abuse cause mental retardation in a child even if there wasn't any drug use during the actual pregnancy?

2 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Vasu Brown
Integrative Medicine 35 years experience
Early pregnancusage: If drugs are used before noticing pregnancy and then stopping usage would create mental retardation. Also nutritional deficiency due to drug usage affects childs brain development and indirectly contributes to mental illness.
Dr. Mary Esther Carlin
Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics 52 years experience
Usually not: Most drugs require transfer to the baby across the placenta. Some previous drug use can affect the sperm; however, they tend to affect fertility and sometimes growth of the fetus rather than cause mental retardation.
Last updated Apr 16, 2016


Content on HealthTap (including answers) should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and interactions on HealthTap do not create a doctor-patient relationship. Never disregard or delay professional medical advice in person because of anything on HealthTap. Call your doctor or 911 if you think you may have a medical emergency.