Moms and Meth

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Having a baby is usually one of the happiest times in a parrents life. But for mothers that give birth while addicted to meth that's not always the case.

Dr. Melissa Dennison says she's seen a growing number of meth-addicted mothers.

Dennison says, "They just think about when they're going to get that drug. They'll steal, they'll lie, they'll do anything. Having a baby is just an annoyance to a lot of them."

It's a scenario this woman, we'll call her "Lisa", lived through.

Lisa says, "I was addicted to methamphetamine . And I learned how to make it and that got me into lots of trouble and I started running from the cops."

Lisa was arrested three times and immediately went back to the drug. But her fourth arrest changed her life forever.

Lisa says, "The first couple of weeks I was pregnant I was still getting high. But as soon as I found out... I kind of consider it a blessing from God because I got arrested and the next day I found out I was pregnant."

Her doctor says she was lucky she quit using meth when she did.

Lisa says, "I talked to him when I first found out I was pregnant. He said if I didn't have a miscarriage by the time I was two to three months along then anything from drugs would not effect him."

Research shows meth use during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriages. If the baby survives birth, there are numerous other problems that can result from the meth use as well.

Dr. Dennison says, "There's all types of birth defects. A lot of times they may have problems with their heart. There have been some skeletal abnormalities. They say there's increased incident of club feet."

Dennison also says they are hyper-irritable babies. Light bothers them and they are inconsolable. Sometimes they go 24 hours without ever sleeping.

That's one of the perks Lisa says she misses most. "I don't get urges to get high, hardly ever, but sometimes I miss the feeling. I miss being able to stay awake and do, get as much stuff done as I needed to do without getting tired," says Lisa.

Lisa has been living in a recovery house for women and children since her arrest. She says if she hasn't found out she was pregnant she might still be using today.

Lisa says, "I'd either probably murdered somebody by now. Or I'd be in prison, or worse, be dead."

For her, finding out she was pregnant and coming clean is the best thing that's ever happened.

Lisa says, "Now, I didn't plan on getting pregnant, but I'm glad it happened because it straightened my life out. And now I feel like I have something else to live for."

if a doctor reports that a mother is using meth during her pregnancy and the baby is born, the Cabinet for Family Services will step in and make a decision whether or not the mother gets to keep the child. Usually counseling and treatment are recommended, like in Lisa's situation. Sometimes, however, those children are taken into custody. The Cabinet for family Services tells WBKO the increase in meth use is a major contributor for the number of children in state provided care.