The Facts and Effects of Methamphetamine Addiction and Pregnancy

Methamphetamines abuse (which includes crystal meth, speed and Ecstasy) can create serious health problems, but methamphetamine addiction and pregnancy is an especially dangerous combination. Using meth creates anxiety, increased blood pressure and heart rate, exhaustion, poor judgment, poor personal hygiene, and mental disorders such as psychosis and depression. For an expectant mother these symptoms can be seriously harmful to not only herself but to her unborn baby as well.

Anytime you take a drug during pregnancy it’s important to remember that your baby is taking the drug as well. Toxins from the drug will pass through your placenta and into the baby, potentially creating growth and birth defects in utero and painful withdrawal symptoms after birth. Other problems pregnant women with an addiction encounter are a decreased appetite and increased exposure to dangerous people and environments. This can lead to poor nutrition, which directly affects the growth of your baby, and can put you in violent and dangerous situations when you’re trying to score drugs.

Meth Addiction and Pregnancy: The Facts

•    Research from the University of Chicago reveals that the number of pregnant women seeking treatment for methamphetamine use tripled between 1994 and 2006.
•    A 2005 study by the University of Toronto showed that taking just one dose of meth during pregnancy could have dire consequences for the baby.
•    A 2001 study by the University of Chicago showed that males exposed to meth prenatally and who later take meth as adults are more likely to develop brain disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, than if their mother had never taken the drug.
•    Women who use meth during pregnancy put their babies at greater risk for premature labor, miscarriage, congenital deformities and behavioral problems.

Meth Addiction and Pregnancy: Effects on the Fetus

•    Increased heart rate
•    Decreased levels of oxygen
•    Birth defects, such as cleft palates

Meth Addiction and Pregnancy: Effects on Newborns

•    Low birth weight
•    Dependence on or addiction to methamphetamines
•    Tremors
•    Sleep problems
•    Excessive crying
•    Muscle spasms
•    Feeding difficulties
•    Extreme irritability
•    Abnormal reflexes
•    Mental and physical disabilities
•    Decreased motor coordination and learning difficulties later in life

Meth Addiction and Pregnancy: Getting Help

If you’re suffering from a meth addiction during pregnancy, it’s absolutely necessary for your health and the health of your baby to get help now. Many women have successfully treated their addiction during pregnancy. The sooner you seek help, the better chance your baby will have of being born healthy and living a normal healthy life. Seeking treatment during the first trimester will increase your chances. If you’re well into your pregnancy, don’t be discouraged. Your baby can only benefit from any help you receive, no matter what trimester you’re in.

In order to safely treat your addiction, including safe detox during pregnancy, you should seek the help and guidance of a professional drug rehab. Being addicted to meth during pregnancy is a delicate matter that should be addressed by a treatment facility that specializes in treating women who are pregnant. Substance abuse treatment, safe pregnancy detox, psychiatric evaluation and care, and obstetric evaluation and care should all be part of the treatment program.


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.