Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Peggy Mohr


Cocaine -- adverse effects; Cocaine -- toxicity; Embryonic and Fetal Development -- drug effects


The recent epidemic of cocaine in all its various forms, including crack, has resulted in large numbers of infants being born after in utero exposure to cocaine. Since most substance abusing pregnant women choose not to receive prenatal care, the diagnosis is often missed or made late during labor because that is when the mother is first examined by medical professionals.

A well-defined "fetal cocaine syndrome" does not exist. However, attempts to characterize the fetal effects of cocaine exposure during pregnancy when attempting to define this syndrome have revealed a wide variety of fetal effects.

The purpose of this study is to make information available for physical therapists regarding neurological damage and musculoskeletal differences in infants exposed to cocaine in utero. It is designed to provide those responsible for health care of the individual, who was exposed to cocaine, with valuable information about their condition. This study will also provide information to enable physical therapists and other health care professionals to identify the commonly occurring abnormalities and characteristics associated with cocaine exposure. It may also aid in the development of an effective assessment and treatment program for individuals exposed to cocaine in utero. The procedure being used to perform this study will be a literature review.