Methamphetamine Use in Pregnancy: Maternal and Neonatal Outcomes from A Specialist Drug and Alcohol Service (Western Australia).

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: The aim of this study was to determine maternal and neonatal outcomes following methamphetamine use in pregnancy in
women attending a specialist drug and alcohol service.
Methods: Women were prospectively recruited in pregnancy if they identified Methamphetamine (MA) as their primary drug of
use at the state-wide Women and Newborn Drug and Alcohol Service (WANDAS). A standardised drug and alcohol assessment was
undertaken at each trimester. Complications of pregnancy, birth, psychosocial risk and Child Protection and Family Support involvement (CPFS), as well as basic neonatal data, were analysed to investigate the maternal and neonatal outcomes associated with MA
use in pregnancy.
Findings: One hundred and fifteen women from 220 women who attended the service consented to the study. There was one maternal death which occurred in the postnatal period from a drug overdose. The heaviest MA use (59.7%) was during the first trimester
with intravenous being the most popular route (79.5%) and polysubstance use was common. Maternal characteristics found to be
significant from MA use included complications of placenta praevia, hepatitis, renal issues, cardiac issues and psychosocial risk
factors. Family and domestic violence (FDV) was common (86.6%) as were complex mental health issues (64%). Neonatal complications including prematurity, small for gestational age (SGA) 23.6%, lower Apgar scores and frequent admission to Special Care
Nursery were evident.
Conclusions: Our results highlight the complexities associated with MA use in pregnancy. MA use is associated with complex medical
and psychosocial issues in the mother and results in significant issues for the neonate. Early multidisciplinary specialist care is vital
to address these issues and optimise outcomes for the woman, her baby and her family.
Keywords: Methamphetamine; Pregnancy; Maternal Outcomes; Neonatal Outcomes; WA
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)763-773
JournalEC Gynaecology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jul 2019


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