Parenting Meth Exposed Babies via Adoption or Foster Care
According to the US federal government, approximately 325,000 drug-exposed infants are born every year. Infants exposed to drugs or alcohol in utero may suffer a variety of short-term and long-term mental and physical health consequences. These can include learning disabilities, sensory integration issues, tremors, retarded growth and changes in muscle tone. There is no guarantee that a child will suffer these issues. Many children do not show signs of problems at all. Adopting these children may present challenges, but effective interventions and many sources of support exist for parents. The challenges these children face are not insurrmountable and most can be overcome with the love and support of a stable family.
There is a generation of children being born to methamphetamine-addicted mothers. Many of these "drug babies" are the children become foster children as their parents struggle to overcome an addiction that deprives them of a normal life and their children.
The vast majority of drug babies (specifically meth exposed babies) look normal, but they may only sleep an hour a night. They can have tremors, muscle stiffness, and trouble gripping. No one knows how much to blame meth alone, since most users also abuse alcohol, marijuana and tobacco. In April, Dr. Rizwan Shah—a pediatrician who has been studying meth-exposed children since 1993—released findings from a study that showed:
- nearly 20 percent of meth-exposed infants fell below the 10th percentile for weight;
- more than one-third experienced feeding problems, often due to a poor suck or swallow reflex;
- 25 percent of pregnant meth users studied delivered babies pre-term; and
- breathing problems, including sleep apnea, as well as over- or under-sensitivity to stimulation were common.
- Health issues such as asmatha and weaken immune systems are prevelant amoung drug exposed children
A child exposed to drugs may need a calmer more controled surrounding to successfully regulate themselves, their behaviors and their sleep patterns.
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