The Effects of a Pregnant Woman’s Meth Use on Her Unborn Baby

Pregnant women who use meth are putting themselves at risk for many health problems including heart attack, kidney damage and stroke. They are also putting their unborn babies at risk for many health problems. Take a look at some of the effects that a pregnant woman’s meth use can have on her unborn child.

Premature Birth

Throughout the 40 weeks of a pregnancy, a baby’s organs, muscles, skin, hair, limbs and other body parts are forming inside the womb. When a woman uses meth, that chemical can cause her baby to be born prematurely. This means that the baby is born before it is fully formed. For instance, a baby may be born with an underdeveloped heart, brain or lungs. A baby whose lungs are underdeveloped will likely need a respirator to breathe. A baby with an underdeveloped heart may need surgery right away. A premature baby is more susceptible to infections because its immune system is not fully developed. In short, a baby who is born prematurely is at great risk for many health conditions.

Damage to a Baby’s DNA

During the final weeks of a pregnancy, a baby develops enzymes that help to protect its fragile system from free radicals that can damage the cells. When a pregnant woman uses meth, that chemical goes through the baby’s body just as it goes through hers. The chemical slows down mental functions and damages a baby’s growing organs. The baby’s body isn’t fully formed and can’t defend itself against the harmful effects of meth. When a pregnant woman takes meth she is making her baby vulnerable to life-long health conditions.

Organ Damage

Some mothers who are taking meth are able to carry their babies to term. However, this doesn’t mean that the baby hasn’t suffered harmful effects from the drug. Babies who have been exposed to meth in the womb are sometimes born with heart defects and other types of organ damage. Also, some are born with physical deformities and mental retardation. In short, the meth used by a pregnant mother takes its toll on a baby even if it’s born on its scheduled due date.


Babies can suffer from strokes inside the womb as a result of being exposed to meth. Meth can cause a baby to have high blood pressure and he or she can suffer from a stroke or even a hemorrhage. The meth is absorbed through the placenta as a baby is being formed. This powerful chemical acts as a poison on a baby’s developing system.


A pregnant woman who uses meth can cause the death of her unborn baby. For instance, a woman may suffer from a miscarriage or a spontaneous abortion due to the chemical’s effect on the baby. Some babies who are born premature aren’t able to breathe on their own or suffer from infections that turn fatal. Maternal meth use can also cause an unborn baby to be born with organ failure. A baby who is exposed to meth in the womb doesn’t have a defense against the drug.

Finally, if you use meth and are pregnant or have a loved one in this situation, don’t hesitate to seek treatment for this addiction. There are many types of treatment programs available that can help pregnant women and others who suffer from this dangerous addiction. Try looking in a directory of treatment centers to find one in your area.

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