WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- More pregnant women use pot to either ease the nausea of morning sickness or increased anxiety.
- A new study reveals that this slim rise in marijuana use is most noticeable among younger women.
- Medical doctors warn about the health effects of marijuana on a fetus.
According to a research letter published in the journal JAMA, the prevalence of pot use among a sample of pregnant women in California rose from 4.2% to 7.1% from 2009 through 2016.
Researchers discovered that among mom-to-be teens below 18, pot use climbed from 12.5% to 21.8%, and among 18 to 24 age range, pot use climbed from 9.8% to 19%.
There was a separate study of pregnant women, 18 to 44 years old, across the country. The research was published in JAMA in January. Those who reported using marijuana in the previous month grew from 2.37% in 2002 to 3.85% in 2014.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, effects could include low birth weight and developmental problems. Tetrahydrocannabinol, known as THC, found in marijuana could be passed from the mother to her baby.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises that “women who are pregnant or contemplating pregnancy should be encouraged to discontinue marijuana use” and “to discontinue use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in favor of an alternative therapy.”
Moreover, “there are insufficient data to evaluate the effects of marijuana use on infants during lactation and breastfeeding, and in the absence of such data, marijuana use is discouraged.”
The recent study involved 279,457 pregnant women, 12 and older, who were in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California health care system. The research participants filled out questionnaires regarding their marijuana use and took a cannabis toxicology test during their standard prenatal care visits from 2009 through 2016.
The researchers found that the prevalence of pot use, based on completed questionnaires or toxicology results, increased among all age groups.
“We were concerned to find that the prevalence of marijuana use in pregnancy is increasing more quickly among younger females, aged 24 and younger, and to see the high prevalence of use in this age group,” the study’s lead author, Kelly Young-Wolff, licensed clinical psychologist and research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research, wrote in an email.
“Think about marijuana use from their perspective, especially in Northern California. 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 Dr. Robyn Horsager-Boehrer, professor and chief of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Southwestern’s William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital. She was not involved in the study.
U.S.doctors warn against drinking, too. It could come with medical risks like a possible miscarriage, stillbirth, or physical and behavioral problems in the baby.