How Ecstasy Affects Pregnancy

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What effect does ecstasy have during pregnancy? Read more to find out.

Induced learning and memory impairments depend on the age of exposure to the drug during early child development.

Use of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; ecstasy) has increased dramatically in recent years, yet little is known about its effects on the developing brain.

Neonatal rats were administered MDMA on days 1-10 or 11-20 (analogous to early and late human third trimester brain development). MDMA exposure had no effect on survival but did affect body weight gain during treatment.

After treatment, body weight largely recovered to 90-95% of controls. MDMA exposure on days 11-20 resulted in dose-related impairments of sequential learning and spatial learning and memory, whereas neonatal rats exposed on days 1-10 showed almost no effects. At neither stage of exposure did MDMA-treated offspring show effects on swimming ability or cued learning. Brain region-specific dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine changes were small and were not correlated to learning changes.

These findings suggest that Ecstasy may pose a previously unrecognized risk to the developing brain by inducing long-term deleterious effects on learning and memory.


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"I began to steal things from my parents and cut classes so that I could get high. The good feelings I was getting from Ecstasy were making me act out in ways that were damaging to myself and the people that cared about me."

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