ASA 127th Meeting M.I.T. 1994 June 6-10

5pSP24. Newborn human cries: Prenatal cocaine exposed and nonexposed.

Harold R. Bauer

Leigh Zimmerman

Dept. Psychol., SUNY, 1 College Circle, Geneseo, NY 14454

High fundamental frequency [F0] newborn vocalizations were studied in respect to F0 and duration. Late prenatal care mothers (initial visit/examination in 3rd trimester of pregnancy) birthing in a metropolitan, public hospital were considered as potential subjects. Enrolled newborn's stool (i.e., meconium) and heel stick, pain induced cries were collected from the subjects in the newborn nursery, after mothers agreed to participate and receive post-discharge pediatric care. Meconium toxicology testing was used to exclude heroin, cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines, and meta-amphetamines maternal use by control subjects in the months prior to birthing, and to define prenatal cocaine exposure. Spectrographic analysis was carried out on the first ten cries. Cry duration, max. F0, min. F0, F0 range, initial F0, mid-F0, and ending F0 were studied. Descriptive and inferential statistical comparisons of the prenatal cocaine exposed and nonexposed infant vocalizations revealed differences with a previous report. Selected examples of the newborn vocalizations are presented for critical discussion. The findings will be discussed with respect to the acoustic structure and pattern of newborn pain cries, the analysis of harmonic--formant interactions and published interpretations of cocaine exposed newborn vocalizations. [Work supported by NIDA.]