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By On September 12th, 2006

Methamphetamine Stunts Fetal Growth

A recent study done by Lynne M. Smith, M.D., of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, and colleagues, revealed that meth-exposed infants are 3.5 times more likely to be born pre-term and be small for their gestational age. The study found a similar finding with infants whose mothers used tobacco during pregnancy; mothers using tobacco during pregnancy were twice as likely to give birth to infants “small for their gestational age.” The study was conducted at four pregnancy centers in cities where meth use is common, Tulsa, Honolulu, Des Moines and Los Angeles. The following is an except of the article:

The investigators identified 84 newborns who were exposed to methamphetamine in utero, and 1,534 who were not exposed. Drug exposure was ruled in or out by a combination of self-reports by the mothers and by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry confirmation of amphetamine and metabolites in the infants’ meconium.

In both groups some mothers had used alcohol, tobacco, or marijuana during pregnancy, but any who had used opiates, LSD, PCP (phencyclidine), or cocaine were excluded.

Studies such as these are useful in raising awareness of the dangers of substance use and abuse during pregnancy. My personal feeling is that often woman do not realize, or underestimate, the dangers involved in substance use during pregnancy.

I found it amazing that Tulsa ranks so high in methamphetamine use nationally. This should certainly cause a call to arms among Pastors and social workers in Tulsa and surrounding areas. Specifically, we need to inform meth users of resources available to them to facilitate recovery.

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