A 12-month follow-up of infant neurodevelopmental outcomes of prenatal opioid exposure and polysubstance use

Lydia Bierce, Alexandra R. Tabachnick, Rina D. Eiden, Mary Dozier, Madelyn H. Labella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Prenatal opioid exposure has been associated with developmental deficits during infancy, but the literature is limited by simple group comparisons and lack of appropriate controls. Previously published research with the current sample documented unique associations between prenatal opioid exposure and developmental outcomes at three and six months, but less is known about associations later in infancy. Method: The current study examined pre- and postnatal opioid and polysubstance exposure as predictors of parent-reported developmental status at 12 months of age. Participants were 85 mother-child dyads, oversampled for mothers taking opioid treatment medications during pregnancy. Maternal opioid and polysubstance use were reported using the Timeline Follow-Back Interview during the third trimester of pregnancy or up to one month postpartum and updated through the child's first year of life. Seventy-eight dyads participated in a 12-month assessment, including 68 with parent-reported developmental status on Ages and Stages Questionnaire. Results: At 12 months, average developmental scores fell within normal ranges and prenatal opioid exposure was not significantly related to any developmental outcomes. However, more prenatal alcohol exposure was significantly related to worse problem-solving scores, and this relationship remained after controlling for adjusted age and other substance exposure. Conclusion: Although findings await replication with larger samples and more comprehensive measures, results suggest that unique developmental risks of prenatal opioid exposure may not persist through the first year of life. Effects of prenatal exposure to co-occurring teratogens, such as alcohol, may become apparent as children exposed to opioids develop.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107176
JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
StatePublished - May 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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