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The effect of methamphetamines on prenatal and postnatal development Critical Essay

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Updated: Jul 10th, 2019

Biophysical Information: Biophysical Strengths and Hazards

The case study on Kim gives a clear information on the effect of methamphetamines on prenatal and postnatal development. The case study shows that the use of Methamphetamines (Meth) by mothers during the prenatal stage may have serious physical effects during the process of giving birth.

Although there is no clear indication that the use of Meth may affect fetus, the intracranial bleeding that Kim suffered during birth could be attributed to this. The mother used this drug during the prenatal period, and Kim’s blood even tested positive for this drug. Two of the common symptoms of usage of this drug include increased blood pressure and muscle breakdown.

These two factors have adverse effects during the delivery process. Most of the problems that Kim had been suffering from could be attributed to the intracranial bleeding she suffered during birth. It is not clear what could have caused this hemorrhage, but it is possible that the blood pressure and the breakdown of the muscles at this important stage could have resulted in this bleeding.

This had forced Kim to lead an abnormal life, especially following the severe development delays. Even if it may not be conclusive to state that Meth used by the mother could be responsible for this, it is very likely that the hemorrhage had a lasting negative impact on this child. This is a clear indication that the use of Meth during prenatal care may have serious negative consequences during postnatal developments.

Psychological Information: Psychological Strengths and Hazards

Kim’s case presents a number of psychological information on prenatal and postnatal care, in relation to bonding and attachment issues. It is clear from the case that Kim should be taken to foster care. However, the mother has strong attachment with the child. The attachment is so strong that the mother ignores the benefits that she could get from this professional care.

Child Protective Service (CPS) would help ensure that the child’s condition is not worsened by any form of neglect from the two parents who are addicted to drugs. The ability of the mother to offer care to this delicate child can be demonstrated by the way the other two children are cared for in this family.

However, leaving this child entirely under the mother’s care poses some hazards. For instance, some of the effects of Meth abuse include hallucination and depression. When such symptoms come, the mother may lack the capacity to take care of the child appropriately despite the strong bonding.

Social Information: Social Strengths and Hazards

This case also raises some social issues regarding postnatal care for children who have delicate conditions like Kim. The case brings out the importance of having children like Kim taken to foster care, especially when the parents prove to be completely irresponsible.

It is important to understand factors that practitioners should consider in making assessments for foster care placements. As Chor (2013) observes, foster care is appropriate when it is confirmed that parents are irresponsible, and the environment at home is not appropriate for postnatal care.

Practitioners should consider factors such as availability of the mother and her ability to care for the child, the level of hygiene in the house and its environment, and any possibility of violence from any member of the family towards the child. At Kim’s family, the environment is generally safe, except for the possible threat that may be posed by the young brothers who may need to play with their younger sibling.

The parents took the two boys away from the family as a way of protecting Kim from their playful activities, but they returned after three days. This is an indication that although the mother is insisting that she is committed to protecting Kim it is possible that she will forget to follow some of the procedures, and this may jeopardize the condition of this child.

The inability of Kim to experience normal development could partly be attributed to the interruption in care giving. Therefore, it is important to understand some of the potential consequences of interruptions in care giving. Upon delivery, Kim experienced intracranial bleeding which could have affected delicate organs in the brain. She also tested positive for Crystal Meth at this delicate stage.

This means that the child needed professional prenatal care for the normal growth. The health practitioners realized this, and assigned a nurse for this activity. This would have been done effectively if the mother had given her for foster care.

The nurse was forced to trust the parents who insisted that they would stop drug abuse, and this would be confirmed by a regular urine drop test. However, both of the parents failed to pass the tests. As a result, this could have contributed to the severe developmental failure in Kim even after eleven months.

Position Paper Form: Thoughts on Position and Literature Support

This case demonstrates that prenatal care is as important as postnatal care, and any negligence at any of the stages may result in serious negative consequences for a child. Kim’s developmental problems can directly be attributed to the intracranial bleeding and premature birth the mother had. She was born prematurely, and experienced hemorrhage in the process.

This can be attributed to the parents’ abuse of drugs, especially the use of Meth by the mother. It is an indication that there was lack of prenatal care for the pregnancy. This is supported by the fact that the child tested positive for crystal Meth. As Anderson (1998) observes, it is important for a mother to avoid any hard drugs during prenatal care as a way of protecting fetus.

Some of these drugs, Crystal Meth included, always find their way to the fetus through the placenta, and this may affect their development (Buckner, Heimberg, Ecker & Vinci, 2013). This means that the parents are directly to blame for the unfortunate incident that occurred during the delivery.

The parents have also failed to offer appropriate postnatal care to the child. The father went back to taking beer even after promising that he would avoid the habit. This strongly suggests that these parents have failed to follow the guidelines they were given on how to care for this child. It explains the severe developmental problems Kim experienced at the age of eleven months.

Kim has all the characteristics of failure to thrive and other relevant developmental issues of infancy. This started during premature birth, the intracranial bleeding, and poor postnatal care offered by the parents.

Person in the Environment (PIE) Form

Social Role

It is clear from the case that nurses have social responsibility to ensure that parents act responsibly during prenatal and postnatal care. Kim’s status would have been better if the practitioners had detected crystal Meth in the mother’s blood earlier. Precautionary measures would have been taken. According to Silva and Tavares (2006), any usage of hard drug by the mother during prenatal care may affect the fetus in many ways.


As Ashford and LeCroy (2010) observed, the ability of infants to thrive always depends on the kind of postnatal care they are given. The kind of environment offered to an infant at this stage plays a pivotal role in ensuring that the child’s development is assured. Kim lacked this positive environment, and this has slowed her rate of development.

Mental Disorders

Mental disorders can always result from poor prenatal and postnatal care. According to Melo, Suchman, McMahon, Zhang, Mayes, and Luthar (2006), any severe trauma on the brain during birth or at the infancy stage may affect the child’s development causing mental disorders.

Kim faces a possible mental disorder, especially due to the trauma that resulted in intracranial bleeding. If she is not given specialized medical attention on time, there is a possibility that she will have to live with a permanent mental disorder that could have been avoided if an appropriate prenatal and postnatal care was offered.

Physical Disorders

It is possible for an infant to suffer physical disorder if the mother fails to offer an appropriate prenatal or postnatal care as needed. Abuse of crystal Meth by the mother could have resulted in failure of muscles during delivery, which could have caused physical injury on Kim’s skull. Besides the mental injury that could be caused, Kim may be forced to live with other physical disorders resulting from the damage of various parts of brain.


Anderson, V. (1998). Assessing Executive Functions in Children: Biological, Psychological, and Developmental Considerations. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 8(3), 319-349.

Ashford, J. B., & LeCroy, C. W. (2010). Human behavior in the social environment: a multidimensional perspective. Belmont: Cengage Learning.

Buckner, J. D., Heimberg, R. G., Ecker, A. H., & Vinci, C. (2013). A biopsychosocial model of social anxiety and substance use. Depression and Anxiety, 30(3), 276-284.

Chor, K. (2013). Overview of Out-of-Home Placements and Placement Decision-Making in Child Welfare. Journal Of Public Child Welfare, 7(3), 298-328.

Melo, P., Suchman, N. E., McMahon, T. J., Zhang, H., Mayes, L. C., & Luthar, S. (2006). Substance-abusing mothers and disruptions in child custody: An attachment perspective. Journal Of Substance Abuse Treatment, 30(3), 197-204.

Silva, M., & Tavares, M. (2006). Effects of Prenatal Exposure to Methamphetamine on the Development of the Rat Retina. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1074(1), 590-603.

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"The effect of methamphetamines on prenatal and postnatal development." IvyPanda, 10 July 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/the-effect-of-methamphetamines-on-prenatal-and-postnatal-development/.

1. IvyPanda. "The effect of methamphetamines on prenatal and postnatal development." July 10, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-effect-of-methamphetamines-on-prenatal-and-postnatal-development/.


IvyPanda. "The effect of methamphetamines on prenatal and postnatal development." July 10, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-effect-of-methamphetamines-on-prenatal-and-postnatal-development/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "The effect of methamphetamines on prenatal and postnatal development." July 10, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-effect-of-methamphetamines-on-prenatal-and-postnatal-development/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'The effect of methamphetamines on prenatal and postnatal development'. 10 July.

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