Meth Babies Face Significant Challenges

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For quite some time, anecdotes have circulated about the many young lives damaged by parental meth use, and now the data is starting to support the rumors. Take a look:

Babies born to mothers who used methamphetamine during pregnancy are 3.5 times more likely to be small for their gestational age than children of non-users, according to researchers here.

The findings are similar to those seen in infants born to cocaine-using mothers, and they suggest direct growth-restrictive effects of in utero methamphetamine exposure, reported Lynne M. Smith, M.D., of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, here, and colleagues, in the September issue of Pediatrics.

“Both of these drugs are central nervous stimulants, and it appears that both drugs have similar effects on the developing fetus,” said co-author Barry M. Lester, Ph.D., of the Brown Center for Children at Risk at Brown University in Providence, R.I.

Researchers are quick to point out, however, that while these babies face challenges, they should not suffer the stigma of being labeled as damaged or disabled, as current findings do not support long term problems yet.

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