Infants prenatally exposed to ecstasy show slower development

April, 2012

Infants exposed to ecstasy in the womb show slower development at four months.

The first study to look at the effects of the drug ecstasy on infant development has shown that infants exposed to ecstasy before they were born tend to be behind, especially in motor and coordination skills, at four months.

The study involved 96 women who were questioned about their substance use prior to and during pregnancy. Most of the women surveyed had taken a variety of illegal drugs. 28 women had taken MDMA (ecstasy) during pregnancy. The infants of these women had poorer motor development and lower milestone attainment at 4 months, with a dose–response relationship to the amount of MDMA exposure.

The study is continuing, to see whether these children experience long-term problems.

Participants were primarily middle class with some university education and in stable partner relationships.

For more about the effects of ecstasy on cognition

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