Meth and Opioid Use on Rise Among Pregnant Women

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meth use pregnant womenUnfortunately, substance abuse among American pregnant women is increasing – and this includes a rise in meth and opioid use, according to a new study. Women living in rural American, who often have limited access to addiction treatment and prenatal care, are most at risk.

For the study, researchers collected data on 47 million births in U.S. hospitals over 12 years. They found that the number of births among women addicted to amphetamine, mostly methamphetamine, doubled in the last decade (from 1.2 per 1,000 births to 2.4 per 1,000 births). Opioid use more than quadrupled – from 1.5 per 1,000 births between 2004 and 2005 to 6.5 per 1,000 between 2014 and 2015.

“Use of both substances represents worsening public health crises,” lead researcher Dr. Lindsay Admon, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, said in a statement.

Meth use during pregnancy increases a mother’s risk of dying and having medical complications — and the risk is nearly two times that of women using opioids, noted researchers. They also found that the risk of preterm delivery, preeclampsia or eclampsia, heart failure or heart attack, and the need for a blood transfusion were higher among moms using amphetamine. What’s more, infants are being born addicted to meth and opioids and they experience withdrawal symptoms similar to what an adult would experience.

And it doesn’t stop there. Many of these same women are also using marijuana and tobacco during pregnancy, Dr. Rahul Gupta, chief medical and health officer at the March of Dimes, told HealthDay.

“It’s very troubling that of all the times in the lifecycle of an individual during pregnancy, women who are using opioids are also using tobacco,” he said. “That almost seals the fate of the infant, as well as the health of the mother and the ability of the mother to take care of the child.”

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