Methamphetamine use during pregnancy: maternal and neonatal implications

Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Aug;116(2 Pt 1):330-334. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e3181e67094.


Objective: To report the demographic characteristics and clinical morbidity of methamphetamine-exposed pregnancies compared with control patients in a tertiary care, urban, academic medical center.

Methods: A single-site chart review from 2000 to 2006 was conducted. International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision code 648.3x was used to identify potential study participants. Specific inclusion criteria required either a positive urine drug screen for methamphetamine use or by patient statement of methamphetamine use during pregnancy. Data from 276 identified patients were then compared with the 34,055 in the general obstetric population during the same period for various demographic factors and perinatal outcomes.

Results: Two hundred seventy-six patients responsible for 273 live births were identified between 2000 and 2006. Factors that were significantly associated with methamphetamine use were age younger than 20 years (9% methamphetamine compared with 16% control patients), non-Hispanic white ethnicity (55% compared with 71%), married (12% compared with 46%), preterm delivery (52% compared with 17%), low Apgar scores (6% compared with 1-2%), cesarean delivery (29% compared with 23%), and neonatal mortality (4% compared with 1%). Additionally, the maternal demographic characteristics suggested that these women were more likely to be unemployed, use other abusive substances, and have higher rates of domestic violence and adoption when compared with the control population.

Conclusion: Methamphetamine use in pregnancy is complicated by more morbid maternal and neonatal outcomes when compared with the general obstetric population. Because the patients in this study were in a variety of ways demographically distinct, attempts to identify these patients early and intervene in an effort to improve pregnancy-related outcomes appears possible and warranted.

Level of evidence: II.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / statistics & numerical data
  • California
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant Mortality
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Methamphetamine / adverse effects*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Pregnancy, High-Risk
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Methamphetamine