There are thousands of women in the United States who have used methamphetamine when pregnant. Methamphetamine, or Meth, is a stimulant drug that is highly addictive. It comes in powder or crystal rock forms.
These women who use meth while pregnant are usually already addicted to the substance before the pregnancy.
There aren’t any medication treatments to treat the use of meth. This means there need to be different plans to help pregnant women who suffer from this addiction.
Opioid addiction in pregnant women has also increased, with meth addiction right alongside it.
This usage began around 2009 but has skyrocketed by 2015. There are tens of thousands of pregnant women each year using meth. This is a terrifying number of babies that could be affected.
It affects 1% of deliveries in the western U.S. This is more than the number of women affected by opioids.
Using meth while pregnant can cause a condition known as preeclampsia. Preeclampsia causes a rise in blood pressure. This can lead to other issues like a seizure and really complicate deliveries.
This also means that even years later women are more at risk for strokes or heart attacks. Preeclampsia can have long term effects on a mother’s body.
Many women who are using meth while pregnant don’t get prenatal care. This is dangerous because of the risks of preeclampsia and other problems. They can end up going into premature delivery or having other health risks.
Prenatal care is very important for these reasons.
Meth does increase the chances of premature birth. That is when a baby is born before they are full term. This can mean time needed in the NICU or even death.
This also can lead to placental abruption, which is where oxygen is cut off to the fetus and can cause a mother to bleed heavily.
Women want to quit using drugs during pregnancy, but it can be hard. Especially with no specialized treatment available. Long term use of meth can cause pregnant women to become depressed when they stop using.
Since it can be hard for women to quit using while pregnant, it is important that there is access for everyone to treatment programs.