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Meth Abuse and Pregnancy

Methamphetamine is a dangerous drug that can have severe consequences for both the mother and child. When used during pregnancy, meth can cause several problems, including miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, and developmental delays.


Additionally, meth-addicted mothers are often unable to provide sufficient care for their children, which can result in neglect or even abuse. Therefore, if you know someone pregnant and using meth, it is crucial to get them help before it's too late.


Many resources are available for pregnant women struggling with meth addiction, and with the right treatment program, they can overcome their addiction and have a healthy baby.

Stats About Meth Abuse During Pregnancy

Overdose deaths and hospitalizations are both on the increase with methamphetamine usage. In 2012, crystal meth was the primary cause of admissions to drug treatment facilities in Hawaii and San Diego. Meth usage is more common among women and begins younger than men.


The usage of methamphetamine by pregnant women is becoming a significant public health issue due to the rising number of people who use this drug.

Over 400 thousand women of childbearing age admitted to using methamphetamine, according to research on meth-related hospitalizations. From 1994 to 2006, another analysis indicated that meth was the most common drug needing prenatal therapy.

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Medically Reviewed:


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Expert Contributor

Dr. Williams presently serves on the board of Directors for two non-profit service organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, Philadelphia, Pa, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Clinical Psychology from Union Institute and University. In Cincinnati, Ohio. He is licensed to practice addictions counseling in both New Jersey and Connecticut and has a pending application as a practicing Psychologist in New Jersey.

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What Does The Pregnant Woman Feel?

Meth is a potent stimulant. When using this chemical, one may feel a variety of emotions, including:


  • Ecstasy.

  • Increased vigilance.

  • Enhanced vitality.

  • Nervousness.

  • Behavior that borders on or constitutes aggression.


Meth usage has been linked to a variety of adverse health consequences, including those listed below:


  • Excessively rapid heartbeat.

  • Hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating.

  • High blood pressure.

  • Raised internal temperature.

  • Convulsions.


Medical professionals still have much to learn about meth's consequences on an unborn child. Unfortunately, research on the implications of methamphetamine usage during pregnancy is inconclusive.

Many studies have been done only on animals or have used populations where it would be impossible to account for confounding factors like polysubstance use among mothers. Nevertheless, although significant results cannot be formed, there is evidence suggesting that meth is detrimental to a growing fetus.

Rolling Hills Recovery Center offers free 24/7 meth addiction support. Call today and confidentially speak with our addiction specialists at 855-559-8550.

Methamphetamine and Its Effects on Expectant Mothers

Toxic substances like meth may impair a pregnant woman's health and increase her chances of complications. Meth-addicted women, for instance, have a considerably lower body mass index than the general population (BMI). This may increase the danger to her unborn child.


A lower body mass index has been linked to a higher risk of pregnancy problems, such as the need for inpatient and prolonged stays. In addition, if a pregnant woman uses meth, the baby may not get the nutrition, which might lead to low birth weight.


An additional risk of meth use during pregnancy is decreased blood supply to the placenta. Because of this, the fetus may suffer from hypoxia or an oxygen deficiency.


Methamphetamine has surpassed all other substances for women seeking treatment at US government-sponsored health clinics since 2003. The use of meth in conjunction with other drugs, such as opioid pain relievers, cannabis, tobacco, and alcohol, only exacerbates the problem.


Fetal development may also be adversely affected by certain chemicals. Fetal alcohol syndrome is one such permanent consequence of alcohol use.

Methamphetamine's Harmful Effects on Infants

Using meth when pregnant has adverse effects on the developing baby. Methamphetamine usage during pregnancy increases the likelihood of having an unhealthy child due to the following;


  • Poor prenatal nutrition leads to premature delivery.

  • Being underweight during the duration of pregnancy leads to a malnourished child.

  • A higher potential for neurological abnormalities.


There has been very little human research on the effects of meth on a fetus, so we cannot make definite conclusions from them. Meth use is linked to adverse health effects, according to little research on the topic.


Animal research has provided the bulk of what is known about meth's consequences on an unborn child. Meth usage during pregnancy was associated with the following effects in rats:


  • Both maternal and infant mortality rates rise.

  • Issues with the retina.

  • Split lip and palate.

  • Congenital rib malformations.

  • Stunted development

  • Inability to learn and use motor skills at a typical rate.


Meth usage during pregnancy has been linked to fetal malformations in specific research. For example, according to another study, prenatal meth usage has been linked to an increased incidence of cleft lip in newborns.


According to a randomized controlled trial, pregnant women who used drugs during the first three months of pregnancy were three times more likely to have a child born with gastroschisis. When a newborn experiences gastroschisis, its intestines protrude through a hole in the skin at the navel.


Babies with mothers who used meth for at least two-thirds of their pregnancies had lower-than-average sizes of several brain areas than babies with mothers who did not use meth.


Still, it's worth noting that there is no conclusive evidence linking meth use during pregnancy with an increased risk of having a child with a deformity. In addition, there is a lack of research that accounts for potential confounding factors such as mother polysubstance usage, sample size, and recollection bias.

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Getting Off Meth While Pregnant

Pregnancy is a time of transition for many women. Some female drug users may be motivated to quit if they realize they are accountable for another person's life.


Meth users who are pregnant or want to become pregnant should discuss alternative treatments with their doctor. For example, your doctor may advise you to check into a rehabilitation center.


Outpatient and inpatient care are the two most common settings for receiving medical assistance.


Women struggling with less severe dependencies and not dealing with significant physical or mental health difficulties may benefit from outpatient therapy. According to the severity of your condition, outpatient care may include counseling sessions, group therapy sessions, and other services to aid in your rehabilitation. At the same time, you continue to live in your own home.


Programs that require patients to live in the facility provide a more intensive level of care by delivering round-the-clock monitoring and availability of medical personnel.


Without the pressures of daily life, you'll be able to give 100% to your rehabilitation process during inpatient care. In addition, your and your unborn child's health is paramount throughout pregnancy. Thus you will be regularly watched.


In therapy, you could engage in group sessions with other people or seek out counseling individually.


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