Cocaine, tobacco, marijuana, and opiates are the types of drugs that can effect an unborn child’s cognitive and behavioral development. Smoking tobacco increases pregnancy complications including low birth rate, prematurity, placental abruption, and intrauterine death. It can also cause disturbed maternal-infant interaction; reduced IQ, ADHD, and it can especially cause tobacco use in the child. Parental marijuana exposure may have long-term emotional and behavioral consequences. A ten-year-old child who had been exposed to the drug during pregnancy reported more depressive symptoms than fetuses unexposed. Some short-term effects include executive function impairment, reading difficulty, and delayed state regulation. An opiate drug, such as heroin, decreases birth weight, birth length, and head circumference when exposed to the fetus. Parental opiate exposure has greater conflicting impact than parental cocaine exposure on the infant’s Central Nervous System and autonomic nervous system. There are also some negative consequences on a child that you wouldn’t think of with opiates, such as: less rhythmic swallowing, strabismus, and feelings of rejection.
Poor nutrition early in life contributes to stunting, and by the age of two or three can be associated with cognitive deficits, poor school achievement, and poor social relationships later in life. Malnutrition is a large problem in developing nations, and has an important effect on young children’s weight and height. Children suffering malnutrition in Colombia weighed less than those living in upper class conditions at the age of 36 months, similarly, malnourished children were shorter than well-nourished children, again at 36 months. Malnutrition has been indicated as a negative influence on childhood Intelligence Quotient IQ. Although it is now suggested that this effect is nullified when parental IQ is considered, implying that this difference is genetic.
Socioeconomic status is measured primarily based on the factors of income, educational attainment and occupation. Current investigations into the role of socioeconomic factors on child development repeatedly show that continual poverty is more harmful on Intelligence Quotient IQ, and cognitive abilities than short-lived poverty. Children in families who experience persistent financial hardships and poverty have significantly impaired cognitive abilities compared to those in families who do not face this issue. Low income poverty can cause a number of further issues shown to effect child development, such as poor academic success, less family involvement, iron deficiency, infections, a lack of stimulation, malnutrition and lead poisoning due to lead paint found on the walls of some houses. Income poverty is associated with a 6–13 point reduction in IQ for those earning half of the poverty threshold compared to those earning twice the poverty threshold.
Parental educational attainment is the most significant socioeconomic factor in predicting the child’s cognitive abilities, those with a mother with high IQ are likely to have higher IQs themselves. Similarly, maternal occupation is associated with better cognitive achievement. Those whose mothers’ job entails problem-solving are more likely to be given stimulating tasks and games, and are likely to achieve more advanced verbal competency.
A major problem in childhood is obesity. In America, the number of obese children is rapidly increasing. Childhood obesity is caused by a variety of factors. The main causes of childhood obesity are "lifestyle issues-too little activity and too many calories." Child obesity can cause major problems with a child’s development. In order for a child to develop successfully, he or she must grow up in a positive environment with good health and academics. If a child becomes obese, there will be consequences such as: depression, low self-esteem, eating disorders, medical problems, and so on. These issues of childhood obesity can be slowed, if society focuses on the causes. If parents enforce a healthy lifestyle at home with physical activity and proper dieting, many issues with obesity could be avoided. Focusing on the causes may, over time, decrease the consequences of childhood obesity and therefore strengthen a child’s development to grow.
Cognitive development is related to childhood exposure to violence and trauma, including spousal abuse between the parents and sexual abuse. Intrauterine growth retardation is associated with learning deficits in childhood, and as such, is related to lower IQ.
Source: Risk Factors During Child Development