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Addiction and having children

answered 11:02 AM EST, Sun November 25, 2012
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anonymous anonymous
I am 28 and I am 7 months clean. I go to AA and NA at least once a day and I am starting to take on jobs at meetings. I am not sure if I am ready to have kids or not but I am starting to consider it and I am so blessed to even be in this spot right now considering the trainwreck my life was not so long ago. There is no family history of addiction in my family other than my own. I did all drugs but I was mostly into crack and crystal. What I want to know is now that I am not using any more are any kids that I might have at an increased risk to have birth defects or behavioral problems or anything like that? I have heard people say that meth can cause DNA damage and mess up your chromosomes and stuff but I am not sure if this is true or not? The guy who told me this was a pretty smart guy who had a masters degree. But he was also a junkie.

Donna Hunter Says...

Donna Hunter D. Hunter
LCSW, CAP

I have to say that the jury is out on the effects of meth and birth outcomes. 20 years ago we believed that children born to crack/cocaine addicted mothers would have horrific outcomes. That is not being seen on the longitudinal studies. When you look at children who are addicted at birth, they do go through detox and have longer hospital stays due to the addiction, low birth weights and premature birth. I am not aware of any conclusive studies on a woman who is clean prior to getting pregnant and birth outcomes. However over the long term, children who are then raised in healthy, stable homes do well while children raised in poverty and neglect have poorer outcomes overall. It is the issue of nature vs. nurture.

I would highly suggest consulting with a ob/gyn or even a pediatrician with experience working with children of addicted parents to discuss the medical outcomes.

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Page last updated Nov 25, 2012

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