Teratogen, Ecstasy as: Ecstasy is an illicit drug considered a recreational or party drug. It acts as both a stimulant and a hallucinogen. The chemical name is methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA).
Ecstasy is considered a possible teratogen, an agent that can disturb the development of the embryo or fetus. Teratogens halt the pregnancy or produce a congenital malformation.
British researchers have reported that of 136 pregnancies during which the mothers took Ecstasy, 78 babies were born alive and of these, 15.4% had congenital abnormalities (birth defects) including clubfoot, skull defects, toe malformations and two cases of congenital heart defects. By comparison, the malformation rate for pregnant women in the general population is about 3%. (Reference: McElhatton PR et al. Congenital anomalies after prenatal ecstasy exposure. The Lancet 1999;354:1441-1442.) This study was not large enough to prove a link between Ecstasy and birth defects, but these initial findings indicate that Ecstasy should be avoided by pregnant women.