Effects of prenatal methamphetamine exposure on fetal growth and drug withdrawal symptoms in infants born at term

J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2003 Feb;24(1):17-23. doi: 10.1097/00004703-200302000-00006.


To determine fetal growth and the incidence of withdrawal symptoms in term infants exposed to methamphetamine in utero, we retrospectively identified neonates whose mothers used methamphetamine during pregnancy and matched them to unexposed newborns. Exclusion criteria included multiple and preterm gestations. Although there were no differences in infant growth parameters between the methamphetamine-exposed and methamphetamine-unexposed neonates, methamphetamine exposure throughout gestation was associated with decreased growth relative to infants exposed only for the first two trimesters. In addition, there were significantly more small for gestational age infants in the methamphetamine group compared with the unexposed group. Methamphetamine-exposed infants whose mothers smoked had significantly decreased growth relative to infants exposed to methamphetamine alone. Withdrawal symptoms (as determined by a previously reported scoring system) requiring pharmacologic intervention were observed in 4% of methamphetamine-exposed infants. These preliminary findings indicate that methamphetamine use is associated with growth restriction in infants born at term.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Birth Weight / drug effects
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Growth / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Methamphetamine / adverse effects*
  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Methamphetamine