Medical

Study says more pregnant women using marijuana

Study says more pregnant women using marijuana

However, for those women who denied using marijuana but had a positive urine test, it's impossible to tell if she had used the drug after she realized she was pregnant.

The increase was especially sharp among young women, rising from 12.5 percent to almost 22 percent for mothers to be under the age of 24, in the years between 2009 and 2016.

In California, use of cannabis among mothers-to-be jumped from 4.2% to 7.1% from 2009 through 2016, the JAMA study found. Over that same period, the proportion of pregnant women aged 18 to 24 using marijuana rose from 10 percent to 19 percent.

The researchers found that the prevalence of marijuana use, based on self-reports or toxicology results, soared among all age groups, but the biggest rise was among those 24 and younger.

There was one important caveat to the survey: Urine samples were taken at eight weeks of gestation, so pot use might have occurred before numerous women realized they were pregnant.

Prenatal marijuana use also increased among women of all ages. A total of 3.3 percent of women older than 34 also reported to using the drug during their pregnancy in 2016, an increase from 2.1 percent in 2009.

Women typically completed questionnaires asking about drug use when they were around eight weeks pregnant and then got lab tests during the same checkup or within the next two to four weeks.




Researchers noted that the study is limited to self-reported surveys and likely underestimates pot use "leaving the scope of the problem unclear".

Marijuana use in pregnancy may be on the rise in part because the legalization of medical marijuana has made people think of the drug as less risky, even during pregnancy, said Barbara Yankey, a public health researcher at Georgia State University in Atlanta who wasn't involved in the study.

Pregnancy in adolescents has been linked to increases in behaviors such as drinking and marijuana use, and pot use could have a disproportionate effect on the increase seen among teens in the study because the adolescent participant group had fewer members than the adult groups.

The committee went on to cite more studies that claim children who were exposed to cannabis while still in their mothers' wombs performed poorly in school, exhibited shorter attention span, and failed visual tests. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists updated a document that represents the organization's opinion on pressing matters titled the ACOG Committee Opinion.

They also note that "research shows that using marijuana while pregnant can cause health problems in newborns-including low birth weight-. California legalized medical marijuana use in 1996, so they have grown up with the idea of it not only not being illegal but being a medical therapy", said Horsager-Boehrer, who was not involved in the study. A total of 23 states have laws that allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes to some extent.

With medical marijuana and legal recreational use spreading across the country, it seems as though the movement has extended to moms-to-be, according to a new study.


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