The Risks of Using Meth During Pregnancy
Methamphetamine, or meth, is one of the most addictive substances known today. Anyone who chooses to abuse it runs a high risk of becoming dependent on it. Treating that dependency and getting sober again, for the long-term, is difficult. For pregnant women addicted to meth, the stakes are high, and yet it can be extremely challenging to stop substance abuse, in spite of the obvious risks to the baby. If you or someone you know may be using meth while pregnant, get the facts and then get help.
How Does Drug Abuse Affect Families?
Drug abuse affects everyone in the family. Addicts often use the excuse that they are only hurting themselves, but their families know this isn’t true. Meth addiction can cause children to be neglected or abused, partners to shoulder more responsibility and relationships to fall apart.
When the addict is pregnant, the negative impact of meth abuse on the family is even greater. The pregnant woman is risking her unborn child and putting a huge amount of stress on everyone else. When the baby is born, the consequences of her addiction could be felt by that child and its family for decades to come. Especially if the mother does not get help for her addiction, the family, including the new baby, will suffer.
How Does Meth Affect Babies?
A functioning meth addict may be able to carry on with her pregnancy, behaving as if nothing is wrong, but her drug abuse is having a major impact on her unborn baby. Meth use during pregnancy has been shown be a risk factor for premature birth, eclampsia and placental abruption, a condition in which the placenta separates from the lining of the uterus.
The effects of meth use during pregnancy also carry through to the child after birth. Meth puts babies at risk for low birth weight, brain and heart abnormalities, and lethargy. As the child grows, he or she may also suffer from developmental and behavioral issues, including excessive stress, decreased arousal and difficulty paying attention. Meth use may even contribute to symptoms similar to ADHD in children.
Getting Help for Meth Addiction
Any pregnant woman struggling with meth addiction should get help right away. It’s not always easy to ask for help with addiction, especially when pregnant, because of the associated shame and stigma. It is the only way, however, for a woman to get clean and to protect her baby. Getting treatment during pregnancy is possible and does help the unborn child. After the birth of a baby, the number of women who relapse with methamphetamine isn’t known, but if the new mother has support and is able to keep up with treatment, she stands a chance of conquering her addiction.