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Effects of Methamphetamine on Fetus Development

Methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive drug that induces damaging health effects.

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.

The effects of crystal meth use during pregnancy

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 particularly 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, heart defects, brain abnormalities.

Crystal meth is the first drug of choice detected in pregnant women

Risky substance use during pregnancy remains a significant public health problem. Meth has become one of the most common reasons pregnant women seek counselling for drug addiction. This is a drug that is particularly risky to use in pregnancy.
The dangers and risks associated with using substances while pregnant depends on the type of drug being abused, the substance use frequency, and the point in the pregnancy at which the substance was introduced.

What happens to babies born to meth addicts?

Not long after birth, infants born to mother with meth consumption issues were found to show decreased arousal, movement disorders, 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.

The rise of meth babies: Long-term effects

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.

Drug abuse prevention strategy

Of course, especially in the early stages of pregnancy, many women are not even aware of being pregnant. Thus, 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.


[Methamphetamines and Pregnancy Outcomes]

[Methamphetamine Research Report]

[Methamphetamine Fact Sheet]

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