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Effects of Methamphetamine on Fetus Development

 

There is no doubt that the effects of DOA consumption are oftentimes quantifiable, and not in a positive way. Be it hospital admissions, economic impact, or social-demographic changes, drugs are commonly at the base of many less-than-desirable social phenomena.

Unfortunately, they affect people universally – some of them not yet born. Over the last decade, the consumption of methamphetamine has been on the rise, with a particular sharp increase among women. One of the largest studies on methamphetamine-exposed pregnancies, conducted in 2016, has shown that constant meth use is associated with premature birth and low weight at birth, essential factors in neonatal mortality.

Other research also indicates increased rates of placental abruption and quite severe effects on babies after birth – smaller size, lethargy, hear defects, brain abnormalities.

Not long after birth, infants born to mother with meth consumption issues were found to show decreased arousal, affected movement, and higher stress. While toddlers presented impaired motor skills, school-aged children were more likely to display attention deficits, associated with various cognitive and behavioral issues.

Nevertheless, it has been concluded that quitting at any time during pregnancy leads to a better outcome.

 

Drug of Abuse: Metamphetamine

However, signs and symptoms of withdrawal have been reported in babies whose mothers used amphetamines in their last trimester of pregnancy. For many babies, the symptoms include agitation, poor appetite, poor muscle control, even breathing issues that can last up to months. Obviously, the long-term effects on the health of the baby can be substantial, influencing their later motor and intellectual development, translating into learning difficulties and behavioral issues.

Of course, especially in the early stages of the pregnancy, many women are not even aware of being pregnant, so it is always helpful, even for smaller practices or clinics, to have at hand a small portable analyzer for drug testing. This gives an important advantage to the relevant healthcare professionals, who can always advise the mother and help her make an informed decision. Drug testing kits can also indicate the type of drug, providing even more essential data to those involved.

 

Sources:

[Methamphetamines and Pregnancy Outcomes]

[Methamphetamine Research Report]

[Methamphetamine Fact Sheet]