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What are the risks of methamphetamine misuse during pregnancy?

Our knowledge of the effects of methamphetamine misuse during pregnancy is limited because studies of this issue have used small samples and did not account for other possible drug use besides methamphetamine in research samples. But the available research indicates 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.18,19

A large NIDA-funded prospective, longitudinal study examined developmental outcomes in infants and children born to mothers who misused methamphetamine. In infancy, they were more likely to show decreased arousal, increased stress, and poor quality of movement.20,21  By ages 1 and 2, toddlers showed delayed motor development.22 Preschool and school-age children had subtle but significant attention impairments and were more likely to have cognitive and behavioral issues in school related to difficulties with self-control and executive function.22,23,24,25,26,27

This page was last updated October 2019

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NIDA. (2019, October 16). Methamphetamine. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/methamphetamine

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