Developmental outcomes following prenatal exposure to methamphetamine: A Western Australian perspective

Angela O'Connor, Carly Seeber, Emma Harris, Dale Hamilton, Mark Sachmann, Colleen Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Aim: To describe neurodevelopmental outcomes among a cohort of Western Australian infants exposed to maternal methamphetamine use during pregnancy and to determine whether the Ages and Stages Questionnaire is a reliable screening tool for this population. Methods: Methamphetamine-using women were approached for participation when referred to the state-wide perinatal specialist drug and alcohol service for pregnancy care. Drug use during pregnancy was self-reported in each trimester using a standardised questionnaire. Ages and Stages Questionnaires were completed by infant care givers at 4 and 12 months, and development was formally assessed at 12 months using the Griffiths Mental Development Scales. Griffiths results for term-born infants in our cohort were compared to a Western Australian historical cohort of 443 healthy 1–2-year-olds. Results: A total of 112 methamphetamine-using pregnant women participated in the study, who gave birth to 110 live-born infants. Ages and Stages Questionnaires were completed for 89 (81%) and 78 (71%) of the infants at 4 and 12 months, respectively. The Ages and Stages assessment identified 30 infants (33.7%) as having a potential developmental delay at 4 months and 29 infants (38.7%) as having a potential developmental delay at 12 months. Griffiths assessments were performed on 64 (58%) of the infants, with a mean general quotient of 92.7. This was significantly lower in term-born babies compared to the historical cohort (who had a median general quotient of 113.0). There was a weak correlation between 12-month Ages and Stages scores and Griffiths general quotients (r = 0.322) and no correlation between 4-month Ages and Stages Questionnaire scores and later Griffiths results. Conclusions: Infants born to women reporting methamphetamine use during pregnancy are at increased risk of developmental delay and may warrant enhanced developmental follow-up. However, they are a challenging group to follow due to complex psychosocial factors. Ages and Stages Questionnaires at 4 and 12 months were not helpful in screening for infants who had a developmental delay at 12 months.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-378
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Volume56
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

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