Cocaine Use by Fathers at Conception May Cause Learning Disabilities in Children

Cocaine Use by Fathers at Conception May Cause Learning Disabilities in Children

There are countless studies examining the effects of maternal drug use and how it affects their children in utero and after birth. Research consistently shows there is no safe amount of alcohol or drug use during pregnancy. 

However, research examining paternal drug use is far more limited. That said, studies show that fathers using cocaine at conception may adversely affect their children. Let’s dive in.

How Drug Use at Conception Affects Children

Approximately 750,000 babies are born to cocaine-exposed pregnancies each year. However, this number may be skewed, as many people are afraid or ashamed to report such drug use. 

Some women who abuse cocaine during pregnancy do not know they are pregnant. Others might know they’re pregnant, but their addiction is so strong that they can’t stop using. 

Women who use cocaine during pregnancy are at a heightened risk for health complications, such as seizures, seizures, premature membrane rupture, and separation of the placental lining. They may be more likely to conceive their children prematurely, and these children tend to have higher rates of lower birth weights and smaller head circumferences. These dangers become more exacerbated if the woman uses other substances, such as alcohol, opioids, or benzodiazepines. 

When examining pregnant mothers, infant health consequences range depending on the type of drug, frequency of drug use, and when during pregnancy the drugs were consumed. That said, cocaine effects on the fetus can be particularly damaging. 

Cocaine exposure is associated explicitly with intelligence problems and impairments with executive functions and attention. It may also contribute to emotional and behavioral issues. These problems may emerge as early as infant or toddlerhood, but they may not manifest until the child is older. 

Cocaine Use and Genes: Examining The Father’s Role 

Fathers who use cocaine during conception may increase the risk of their child developing memory loss or learning disabilities. One study found this issue to be far more prominent in sons than daughters. 

In examining rats, the sons of male rats (but not the daughters) struggled to make new memories. These male rats found it challenging to locate specific objects and recall the locations of such objects. 

Further examination also found that these rats showed hippocampus impairments. The hippocampus is the part of the brain associated with learning and memory. Impairments may contribute to lifelong learning problems and neurological issues. 

Although this research is limited, it suggests that epigenetics might be a fundamental variable in childhood development. Paternal cocaine use may cause epigenetic changes in their child’s brains, which changes the gene expression needed for specific memory formation. Therefore, even if the child is never directly exposed to cocaine, they still may be vulnerable to its damaging effects.

It’s safe to assume that more research will likely focus on this phenomenon. While it’s important to focus on maternal health, understanding the father’s role may be vital in preventing certain childhood issues. 

Risks of Cocaine Use While Parenting 

Parents who use cocaine place their children at significant safety risks. Cocaine alters judgment and impulse control, and it can trigger both mood swings and paranoia.

If a parent is addicted to cocaine, they might inadvertently neglect their children. For example, they might leave them alone for several hours or days at a time to pursue their habit. Or, they may sacrifice food or safe shelter to continue purchasing the drug. In addition, some parents may expose their children to dangerous situations, like drug deals or crack houses. 

In some cases, cocaine may trigger extreme agitation and violence. A parent may lash out at their children when they’re under the influence. Afterward, they might beg and plead with their child to forgive them. Unfortunately, this cycle can be confusing and devastating for children. They known that home life feels dysfunctional, but they also feel trapped by their own circumstances. 

Final Thoughts 

Cocaine use is undoubtedly dangerous, and it can be even more detrimental for men and women hoping to conceive. Quitting cocaine may be challenging, and that’s why it’s imperative to seek support and reach out for help. If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, please contact one of our addiction specialists and call (866) 578-7471.

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34 comments
  1. This is really scary seriously, our actions as parents directly or indirectly affects our children. More reason we should be careful

  2. It is quite shocking to see that 750,000 babies are exposed to the harmful effects of cocaine during the conception. It should also be noted that fathers who take drugs and use other kinds of harmful substances like cigarettes also pass the toxic effects of these substances to their children. Addictions to alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, etc are more harmful than anyone can think!

  3. This is a Very educative and informative article. Thank you for this now I’m sure young adults know that intake of this substance can affect the future of a child.

  4. This is an absolute new one for me. Thanks for this amazing information. I’ve always thought only the maternal unhealthy practices affects the child because of the placenta. I guess i was wrong afterall.

  5. This is an eye opener..I never knew that fathers using cocaine at conception will affect the kid..I just wish fathers read this article..that will definitely make fathers stop taking these drugs totally.. anything that will adversely affect the kid is not worth it

  6. This is really educative. Fathers on drugs should please help not to affect these young lads coming to this world for enjoyment. Thanks for sharing

  7. More reasons we have so many children finding it difficult to learn, not knowing is from the father or mother doing conception. Its well with us all

  8. Detox to rehab thank you for sharing this insight of how drugs affect babies at conception. Cocaine use is very dangerous and the user must seek help because it is not easy to quit an addiction. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Cocaine addition, alcohol addiction and other harmful substances aren’t advisable for use. With the information it poses to pregnant women shows, it is only for destruction of one’s family and not an enjoyment.

  10. I never knew what the father eats or smokes can affect the child. This is an eye opener and thanks for sharing this wonderful piece

  11. I just wish parents wouldn’t let children be in the environment of drugs and alcohol. A child has the right to live happily from conception to birth till he grows. I just wish all children who have been abused of any kind could seek help and care.

  12. I truly believe that using drugs will cause future harm to your child. This may alter their genes. We need to understand that illegal substances are chemically made and can cause chemical reaction to our body.

  13. This is really informative. Our actions affect our children even before they are being given birth to. Let’s watch what we do.

  14. Wow horrible impact,in this case many babies born with and while mother abusing drug and alcohol,for now ourself must consent about abusing drug that bad for our life

  15. The sad thing is its not them who will suffer in the long run. It is their kids. They say being born special is a gift but as someone who knows a lot of special people. I can say this is not true. They just want to be like everyone else. Imagine suffering for a lifetime because your parents elected to be high on drugs, Special? Yeah right!!!

  16. This is really talking about parents. It is doing the job of creating awareness. I Never knew about stuff like this untill now, the effect it had on the father. This is really a nice piece of work.

  17. Thank you Detax to rehab for sharing these type of stories with all of us.These stories are really very much inspirational for many people who are addicted with something.

  18. Wow, this is absolutely new and very good information for me. The most important thing we should stay away from drugs or alcohol cause it’s can effect our children as well.

  19. As said, for a child or for a woman pregnant it is hazardous to take alcohol. Also, we should live a healthy life and there is a lot in the life to enjoy apart from these addiction stuffs.

  20. Drugs are very harmful effects on children. This is not good for all youths. Drugs are very harmful for young children. This hasty decision can be very fatal.

  21. Whatever decision the parents take,it will have a positive or negative effect on the children.I feel parents should be mindful and well informed.

  22. Say what? I never knew that cocaine used at conception by men can cause harm to a baby. I hope this information goes far so that the awareness can be created.

  23. This is absolutely correct. I am in agreement with this educative article. Substance which have residues can be transferred to children from their parents. We need to be careful of taking drugs before have sexual intercourse.

  24. This is a great article. I did not know that cocaine use can cause learning disabilities in children till now. Thanks to Detox To Rehab for sharing .

  25. I dont see any reason why a woman should use cocaine when pregnant or a man during conception of the baby, especially knowing that this may have an adverse and permanent effect on the baby. May God give addicts the grace and strength to stop it.

  26. What an educative post,it gives an information that will transform the life of many,It really widened my knowledge about cocaine havoc in children. Thanks for sharing

  27. The use of cocaine at the conception of a child is highly injurious to health. That is why is people should desist from drug addiction.

  28. No wonder pupils in elementary schools are having learning difficulties despite the efforts of teachers. Parents should be careful in their approach to drugs.

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