The US researchers determined that the babies are at increased risk of being born underweight if their mother had used methamphetamine during her pregnancy. Being born underweight sets off many other complications later in life like behavioural problems, learning difficulties in childhood, hyperactivity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
From the 1,618 newborns from four different medical centers, 84 have been found to be exposed to methamphetamine while in the womb. These babies were 3.5 times more likely to weigh less than 5lb than the other babies.

Methamphetamine, as well as cocaine, restricts blood vessels. This is, what scientists feel, that is restricting the flow of nutrients from the mother to the child in the womb having a major impact on the baby’s growth.

They discovered that newborns whose mothers had taken methamphetamine were 3.5 times more likely to weigh less than 5lb (2kg) than the babies who had not been exposed to the drug. The most concerning are developmental problems that may have a large influence on the children’s’ cognitive functions later in life. Behavioral problems that come as a consequence of being born underweight include hyperactivity, short attention span and learning difficulties.

Other risk factors have been taken into consideration like socioeconomic status, smoking and alcohol intake and it was hard to distinguish which of the factors had the biggest role in underweight newborns. However, researchers state that methamphetamines are powerful stimulants and pose a great risk to both mother and a child.