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Effects of Prenatal Methamphetamine Exposure on Fetal Growth and Drug Withdrawal Symptoms in Infants Born at Term

SMITH, LYNNE M.D.; YONEKURA, M. LYNN M.D.; WALLACE, TONI L.V.N.; BERMAN, NANCY Ph.D; KUO, JENNIFER; BERKOWITZ, CAROL M.D.

Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: February 2003 - Volume 24 - Issue 1 - pp 17-23
Original Articles

ABSTRACT. 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.

Department of Pediatrics, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine

The Options for Recovery Center, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine

Department of Pediatrics, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine, Torrance, California

Address for reprints: Lynne M. Smith, M.D., Martin Research Center, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, 1124 West Carson Street, Torrance, CA 90502; e-mail: smith@gcrc.rei.edu.

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.