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What are the risks of methamphetamine abuse during pregnancy?

Our knowledge of the effects of methamphetamine abuse during pregnancy is limited because studies of this issue have used small samples and have not been able to account for the possibility that mothers used other drugs besides methamphetamine. But the available research points to increased rates of premature delivery, placental abruption (separation of the placental lining from the uterus), and various effects on babies prenatally exposed to methamphetamine, including small size, lethargy, and heart and brain abnormalities. A large ongoing NIDA-funded study is examining developmental outcomes in children born to mothers who abused methamphetamine. Thus far, researchers have found neurobehavioral problems such as decreased arousal and increased stress and subtle but significant attention impairments in these children.

This page was last updated September 2013

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​Research Reports

This series of reports simplifies the science of research findings for the educated lay public, legislators, educational groups, and practitioners. The series reports on research findings of national interest.