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Does Anyone Know The Prognosis For Infants Born Meth-Addicted In Utero?

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Nov 10 in Health by Virginia (4,094 points)

Talk about everyday heroes? My friend the cook at the senior nutrition program in Rochester, WA...when her own children were in their teens, she adopted three babies in as many years...all born to the same meth-addicted mother. She did not realize at the time, the ongoing behavior problems; lack of impulse control, and many of the impulses violent. 

Now the oldest child is nine. And the cook's parents have moved in with them to help raise these three wild children. Also her youngest natural son, age 20, he and his wife take one child at a time to give the four adults something of a break...so it is six adults (I think) struggling to raise these three children.

Is the prognosis for these children even known, is there hope? It has not been that long that meth-addicted mothers were giving birth, I think? The cook says "I would not give them up, I never anticipated this but they are now mine."

The children ARE capable of affection. They scream when the grandfather had to spend a few days in the hospital, and my friend arranged phone calls to him. 

Is the long-term prognosis for such children known yet? It's scary...

3 Answers

Rooster Nov 10

Man, couldn't find very much and almost nothing at all about long term. Sorry. These all seem to be a few years old and pretty much say what you are saying Virginia. Poor kids!

https://drugabuse.com/library/meth-pregnancy/

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140318113733.htm

https://adoption.com/forums/thread/345113/meth-baby-what-to-expect/

Virginia Rooster Nov 10

Rooster, even on Blurt you were such a great researcher. I knew that if there was anything hopeful, you Marianne and O'Tink would either know about it or find it, locate it...

Usually there is something hopeful I can say to my friends, but here maybe it is just not known. One of your links mentions that Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is irreversible, I am concerned this is also. Anyway to all three of you, thanks for giving this question a go.

TheOtherTink Nov 10

I'm afraid the long-term prognosis is not good. It is known that children exposed to such drugs in utero typically have behavioral problems and difficulties in school, which I would think can have negative consequences in adulthood, even if the physiological effects on brain development are outgrown.  :(

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4262892/

Thank you, Other Tink...not much really hopeful I can pass to my friend, if there were I knew you three would know it or find it...what I left under Rooster's post is also for you and Marianne, ty

Marianne Nov 10

Long-term prognosis is extremely difficult in these cases, as medical and psychological research, experiences, issues, etc., have still a long way to go - and every individual's needs and responses can vary much from one case to the other.

I have the impression that family, living conditions, education, resp. stable, loving, motivating and safe surroundings, are very important too:

https://drugabuse.com/library/meth-pregnancy/

https://www.livescience.com/28042-meth-moms-babies-stress.html

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2012/03/19/148916627/kids-exposed-to-meth-in-womb-can-struggle-with-behavior-problems


Virginia Marianne Nov 10

Marianne, your research is interesting as usual...and I was intrigued by the LiveScience link, because from my friend's experience that 2013 research is not always true...for example,

"kids whose mom did meth during pregnancy can overcome the damage, provided they get support and security. Second, that support and security need to come early."

Well, my friend's babies were treated immediately after birth for detoxification, and then went immediately to her. And still, the problems are huge, even with all those adults doing the best they can for them...it's clear this is still unknown terrain...and so tragic.

* Please see comment under Rooster's post, I left it for you and Other Tink also...

Marianne Marianne Nov 11

Virginia, certain treatments and responses to them can vary, from one individual to the other, and one can't predict the results on the long term. I heard about recent findings, which might be very useful for future therapies.

Did you hear about massive neural migration after birth?

https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2016/10/404486/human-neurons-continue-migrate-after-birth-research-finds

And many changes need time and patience.



Virginia Marianne Nov 11

Marianne, what a fascinating article and video! ...that this recently discovered migration of brain cells is happening just after birth, when the infant is first interacting with his/her environment...

Marianne Marianne Nov 12

Yes, Virginia, birth involves a series of changes in the body of the baby, which must adapt to further growth in a new environment. :)


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