Unfortunately, there is more to this syndrome than just the withdrawal. A pregnant woman using illicit substances is less likely to seek medical attention throughout her pregnancy, putting her and the baby at medical and nutritional risk. And, if the mother-to-be becomes infected with HIV, quite possibly through risky behavior more common to drug users, the baby will too be infected in some capacity, as blood is passed through the placenta.
Babies who are exposed to drugs while in the womb tend to be smaller in size than other babies and are more likely to be born prematurely. They are also more at risk of seizure and birth defects than babies who have not been exposed to drugs.
Long-term medical problems can occur with the baby’s hearing which can manifest in hearing loss and delays in language skills and speaking ability. Vision problems may occur as well. Lazy eye is a common issue as is an overactive eye. Visual development is usually delayed in the same manner as is hearing development. The baby is also much more likely to experience poor motor skills as well as behavioral and cognitive issues. Lastly, studies have also connected this syndrome with sudden infant death syndrome.
To round out the picture, the baby will also be at lifetime risk of developing a future drug use problem…and the cycle continues.