Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Date Information

April 23, 2017


School of Nursing

First Advisor

Paula Burnett

Second Advisor

Scott Nowka

Third Advisor

Hannah Fraley


This paper will focus on the effects of maternal substance use on the gestational development of neonates. The research for this paper will be gathered through a systematic review of the literature, which will include both quantitative and qualitative peer-reviewed articles published within the last six years. The articles will be gathered using databases including CINAHL and EBSCO. The research will include many substances that can have an effect on gestational development including alcohol, cannabis, amphetamines and opioids. The articles will not be limited to a specific maternal age range or ethnic or racial background, but rather all of the articles will include women who used substances at any point during their pregnancies. The demographics of the women and their socioeconomic status will be taken into consideration when analyzing the outcomes of the fetuses. For the purposes of this article, there will be a zero tolerance of substance use allowed during pregnancy and any use above zero would be considered abuse. The research will look into the roles of the women, their existing families and the physicians. The research will also explore the relationship between previous substance use and use during pregnancy. Some current research supports that there is a definite risk in healthy development of a fetus when substance use occurs during pregnancy. There are many outside factors, such as marital status, socioeconomic status and social class, that play a role in the resources available as well as the treatment provided to these women and fetuses. The goal of this study is to spread awareness of the effects of substance use during pregnancy and to help not only health care providers, but also women become more educated in the area, and therefore make more knowledgeable choices.