Meth Withdrawal In Infants

Babies born to mothers who abused meth during pregnancy can go through drug withdrawal in infancy. The effects of meth use during pregnancy can be devastating, but addiction treatment can help with illicit drug use.

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Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


Newborn withdrawal can happen when a pregnant mother uses certain substances. Meth is among the most common drugs that pregnant women abuse.

Not every baby whose mother uses meth will show symptoms of withdrawal. However, withdrawal symptoms in infants can be dangerous and health problems may occur.

It is important to monitor babies who are at risk for meth withdrawal symptoms and make sure they have access to qualified health care providers.

Meth Withdrawal Symptoms In Infants

Below are some of the most common symptoms of meth withdrawal in infants.

If you know a baby is at risk for meth withdrawal and you see the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention.


Sneezing and a stuffy nose can be symptoms of meth withdrawal in infants. These symptoms are generally mild but occasionally breathing problems may occur, which require medical attention.

If a baby has been exposed to meth during pregnancy and you notice them sneezing a lot, they could be going through meth withdrawal.

Poor Feeding

Poor bottle feeding or breastfeeding is one of the most common symptoms of withdrawal in babies who have been exposed to drugs during pregnancy.

Poor feeding may look like a weak suck or an unusually strong need to suck. It can also include an abnormal amount of spitting up.


Hyperactivity in babies looks different than in adults. It could be characterized by lots of crying, trouble sleeping, or even unusual stiffness in the body.

Sometimes, fast breathing and high blood pressure can occur in babies who are undergoing meth withdrawal. These symptoms require medical care.

How To Treat Infants Withdrawing From Meth

Infants going through meth withdrawal might need anything from a little extra soothing to hospitalization and around-the-clock medical attention.

Symptoms can vary, so it is important to have quick access to medical care if your infant has meth withdrawal symptoms.

Medical Monitoring

Certain infants who are going through meth withdrawal may require medical monitoring.

Doctors may ask to keep the infant under medical supervision if they seem unstable or if they have more severe symptoms like trouble breathing.


In certain cases, medications may be used to manage symptoms of meth withdrawal in infants.

Though rare, certain symptoms such as high blood pressure and rapid breathing may require treatment with drugs.

Gentle Nurturing

Many babies going through meth withdrawal simply need extra soothing and nurturing. Some withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable for babies and will lead them to cry and fuss more than normal.

Being extra gentle and nurturing with an infant who is undergoing the uncomfortable symptoms of meth withdrawal can go a long way.

Risks Of Methamphetamine Use During Pregnancy

Using meth during pregnancy is dangerous for both the pregnant woman and the baby and can lead to a number of different complications.

It is important to note that the risks of meth use during pregnancy are far lower when the prescription form of the drug is being used as prescribed by a doctor to treat conditions like ADHD.

Still, if you are using methamphetamine for a legitimate medical reason, your doctor may suggest an alternative during pregnancy.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)

Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is another term for withdrawal symptoms in infants.

NAS is most common in babies exposed to opioids during pregnancy, but it can happen to babies whose mothers dealt with meth addiction during pregnancy also.

Birth Defects

Methamphetamine use during pregnancy may increase the risk of birth defects in infants.

However, the research on this topic is not conclusive, largely because mothers who misuse meth often misuse other substances as well.

Low Birth Weight

Meth use during pregnancy has been linked with babies being born too small or with a head that is too small.

Abnormalities In Brain Development

Meth use during pregnancy can increase the chances of babies having abnormal brain development and cognitive abilities.

These may be long-term effects or they may normalize later in life.

Premature Birth

Premature delivery is characterized as babies who are born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Meth use can cause babies to be born too early.

Premature birth is dangerous and it significantly lowers the survival rate of infants.

Behavioral Problems Later In Life

Long-term cognitive and behavioral issues have been associated with meth use during pregnancy.

It is hard for researchers to quantify exactly how much of these behavioral problems can be attributed to meth exposure during pregnancy.

This is because children born to mothers who abused meth during pregnancy are also likely to be exposed to childhood trauma and other familial issues, which can lead to behavioral issues later in life.

Treatment Programs For Methamphetamine Addiction During Pregnancy

Meth addiction is a serious condition with major effects on the body, brain, and nervous system. Pregnant women have not one but two lives to consider when they think about using meth.

Treatment programs for meth addiction are the best way to break the cycle of abuse and get clean.

Detox and treatment at an inpatient facility is a good place to start. Certain treatment centers may offer programs specifically for pregnant women in recovery.

Find Drug Rehab Services At Bedrock Recovery Center

Bedrock Recovery Center is one of the northeast’s top addiction treatment facilities. We offer inpatient detox and rehab programs for people facing drug and/or alcohol abuse.

Our treatment programs focus on using evidence-based treatments, which are proven to give our clients the best chances to make a full recovery — including pregnant women.

Are you ready to move on from a meth drug addiction? Call our helpline today to learn more about our rehab programs.

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  4. United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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