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Developments in Brief : Pregnant Women Warned of Cocaine

July 06, 1986|--Compiled from Times staff and wire service reports

Health officials are urging pregnant women to stay away from cocaine after two women who had used it went into early labor, forcing doctors to deliver the babies by emergency Caesarean section to relieve fetal distress.

Not using cocaine during pregnancy "is bigger than all the other 'don'ts' of cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana," said Dr. Michael Weitzman, director of maternal health at Boston City Hospital in Massachusetts. "Using it (cocaine) just once can potentially kill the child and the mother," he said.

Weitzman said the two women, both 34 weeks pregnant, were admitted to Boston City Hospital complaining of cramps. Both were "in labor that was faster and harder than normal," he said.

The heart rates of both fetuses had dropped to about half the normal rate, indicating a possible reduction of oxygen to the brain, he said. "The fetuses faced imminent threat of death, along with later problems of learning disabilities, motor problems and interpersonal problems," Weitzman said. The babies each weighed four pounds but otherwise appear normal.

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