A study published in the Journal JAMA Network Open has found that more women are now using marijuana before and during pregnancy.
For the study, the researchers at healthcare company Kaiser Permanente examined self-reported cannabis use among 276,991 pregnant women from North California. Later, it was deduced that between 2009 and 2017, marijuana use a year before pregnancy climbed from 6.8% to 12.5%; while use during pregnancy also increased from 1.9% to 3.4%.
The team believes that the rise in cannabis use comes amid the legalization of adult-use marijuana in California in 2018.
“These findings should alert women’s health clinicians to be aware of potential increases in daily and weekly marijuana use among their patients,” Kelly Young-Wolff, lead author of the study and a research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Research Division, said in a statement.
The team is of the view that the real number of women resorting to cannabis use before and during pregnancy may be much higher than what has been estimated. “Many women still hesitate to disclose their use of a substance, maybe because of the social stigma attached.”
Marijuana use during pregnancy
There can be a number of reasons why women resort to using the drug during or near their pregnancy:
- To manage morning sickness
- The natural inclination to try new things during pregnancy
- The ‘misconception’ that consumption of marijuana during pregnancy is safe, because of misleading ads and social media posts.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), however, warns that marijuana may have adverse effect on the fetus. Only recently, a study showed a link between marijuana use and preterm birth.
“We need to understand the effects of prenatal cannabis exposure at the earliest. However, until that happens we recommend avoiding cannabis at all costs prior to conceiving and certainly when a woman is sure that she is pregnant.”