Methamphetamine abuse during pregnancy and its health impact on neonates born at Siriraj Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand

Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 2004 Mar;35(1):228-31.


To ascertain the impact of intrauterine methamphetamine exposure on the overall health of newborn infants at Siriraj Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand, birth records of somatic growth parameters and neonatal withdrawal symptoms of 47 infants born to methamphetamine-abusing women during January 2001 to December 2001 were compared to 49 newborns whose mothers did not use methamphetamines during pregnancy. The data on somatic growth was analyzed using linear regression and multiple linear regression. The association between methamphetamine use and withdrawal symptoms was analyzed using the chi-square. Home visitation and maternal interview records were reviewed in order to assess for child-rearing attitude, and psychosocial parameters. Infants of methamphetamine-abusing mothers were found to have a significantly smaller gestational age-adjusted head circumference (regression coefficient = -1.458, p < 0.001) and birth weight (regression coefficient = -217.9, p < or = 0.001) measurements. Methamphetamine exposure was also associated with symptoms of agitation (5/47), vomiting (11/47) and tachypnea (12/47) when compared to the non-exposed group (p < 0r =0.001). Maternal interviews were conducted in 23 cases and showed that: 96% of the cases had inadequate prenatal care (<5 visits), 48% had at least one parent involved in prostitution, 39% of the mothers were unwilling to take their children home, and government or non-government support were provided in only 30% of the cases. In-utero methamphetamine exposure has been shown to adversely effect somatic growth of newborns and cause a variety of withdrawal-like symptoms. These infants are also psychosocially disadvantaged and are at greater risk for abuse and neglect.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Birth Weight
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / diagnostic imaging
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospitals, Urban
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Methamphetamine*
  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Probability
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Survival Rate
  • Thailand / epidemiology
  • Ultrasonography


  • Methamphetamine