Alcohol and drugs
Ecstasy, methamphetamine and other amphetamines
A 2006 study found that babies of women who used this drug were more likely to grow poorly before birth. Even when born full term, these babies tend to weigh less than 5 1/2 pounds. Also, the size of their heads tends to be smaller than normal. There have also been cases of birth defects, including heart defects and cleft lip/palate.
Methamphetamine appears to contribute to pregnancy complications including:
For more information on methamphetamine and pregnancy, see the fact sheet from the Organization of Teratology Information Services.
Ecstasy is a type of amphetamine. There have been few studies on how Ecstasy may affect pregnancy. One small study found a possible increase in congenital heart defects and a skeletal defect called clubfoot (only in girls).
Babies exposed to Ecstasy before birth also may face some of the same risks as babies exposed to other types of amphetamines. After birth, these babies may have withdrawal-like symptoms, including jitteriness, drowsiness and breathing problems.
For more information, read the fact sheet Illicit Drug Use During Pregnancy. The March of Dimes encourages all women to avoid illicit drugs during pregnancy.
Things to avoid
- Alcohol, in any quantity
- Smoking and secondhand smoke
- Herbs or supplements not OK with your doctor
- Medicines obtained without prescription