In Hawaii, at least 50 percent of methamphetamine abusers and addicts are women. It’s believed that the drug’s side effects, which include reduced hunger and weight loss, helps explain why so many women abuse the drug.
Most women who use methamphetamine are in their child-bearing years, which can result in meth-affected pregnancies. Using methamphetamine during pregnancy poses a significant risk to the mother and fetus.
Some of the risks to the infant include premature or early delivery of the infant as well as deformities such as club foot and limb abnormalities. Pre-natal meth exposure causes babies to be born with low birth weight, and it can cause the infant to have a stroke or bleeding in the brain.
Babies exposed to meth may also suffer neurological problems such as intolerance to light and touch, tremors, muscle coordination problems, and sleep and irritability problems. There is also an increased risk for these babies to be born with HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.
The developmental risks of infants exposed to meth include learning disabilities and growth and development delays. These babies also have higher rates of attention deficit and attention deficit hyperactive disorders. They also have higher rates for rage disorder and a greater risk of sudden infant death syndrome in infants—and even in children up to 7 years old.
Seeking treatment for drug addiction during a woman’s reproductive years can reduce the potential for harm to both the mother and child.