In our state alone, methamphetamine is a contributing factor to at least 60 percent of the children in our foster care system. It is even higher in some states! This is awful news in and of itself, but once you learn more about the direct effects it can have in children, it’s even more devastating.
For a pregnant woman using meth, her 20 minute high can become a 72 hour high for the baby! Consider what’s happening while the little baby is developing. Meth affects the neurological system in addition to the formation of the rest of the body. Some babies that aren’t miscarried from this abuse have been found to have holes in their bellies, missing limbs and skeletal deformities.
Babies that survive the womb can continue to face challenges. Many have sleeping issues. They can become agitated by noise, light or touch. Sometimes they have shorter attention spans and delays in motor skills. Children may also have trouble during feeding like sucking, under eating or over eating. Often times these babies are referred to as “irritable” or “fussy”. Withdrawal symptoms of drug exposure can last until the baby is 8 to 10 months of age, but has been seen in some children as old as 5.
Long term effects are still being studied. So far, this is what has been found in children who were meth exposed in the womb: They are more likely to be hyperactive, have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), impulse control issues, fits of anger, and growth and development delays.
As a mom of two meth exposed babies, I agree with much of what these studies have found. One son of mine is very intense, high energy, shows sensory issues, sleeping trouble at night, is impulsive, and very smart. My other son was very fussy. He is mellow now, sensitive, and he sleeps well. He used to have a tendency to overeat but now is fine. He shows some learning delays in speech mainly. I have a lot of hope for both my boys. They were very fortunate not to have endured worse.
The information gathered in my blog was provided through an awesome site called KCI.org.
Melissa is a Families.com Christian Blogger.