TUESDAY, JUNE 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) – As marijuana laws relax nationally and drugs become more popular, American women are increasingly using the pot during pregnancy, according to a recent study.
The study was based on data from over 467,000 women collected between 2002 and 2017. The researchers found that the percentage of women who claimed to have used cannabis at least once during a pregnancy doubled during that period – from 3.4 % to 7%.
And the percentage of women who reported consuming cannabis "daily or almost daily" during pregnancy more than tripled – from 0.9% of respondents in 2002 to 3.4% by 2017, according to a team led by Dr. Beth Han of US Substance Abuse and the Administration of Mental Health Services.
A second study highlighted the potential harm to children from the trend. Canadian researchers examined data on pregnancy outcomes for almost 662,000 women with an average of 30 years.
Investigators found that the story of using marijuana during pregnancy was linked to the doubling of the preterm birth rate – from 6% among non-users to 12% among users. Preterm birth was defined as birth before 37 weeks gestation.
The use of cannabis in pregnancy has also been linked at higher altitudes to low birth weight, some obstetric complications and the need to take care of newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Of course, the study cannot prove the cause and effect, and other risk factors – for example, concomitant consumption of alcohol or tobacco – could be at stake, said a team led by Daniel Corsi Octawa Hospital Research Institute, in Canada.
But the study also found that "the risk of premature birth … was statistically significant in the subgroups of women who only used cannabis and other substances".
Both studies were published online June 18 in Journal of the American Medical Association.
In a related editorial, Drs. Michael Silverstein, Elizabeth Howell and Barry Zuckerman have agreed that the results "send a direct message: cannabis use in pregnancy is probably unsafe, with increasing prevalence of use (presumably related to social acceptability and legalization in many states), its potential damage may represent a public health problem ".
Keep it going
However, not everyone is comfortable with the pot-in-pregnancy trend. Han's team noted that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has long recommended "that pregnant women suspend cannabis use".
However, in many US the drug has actually been approved as a means of alleviating morning sickness. But Han's team found that in 2017 only 0.5% of women reported using cannabis during pregnancy "for medical purposes".
Dr. Jennifer Wu is an obstetrician-gynecologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Reading the new findings, he stated that "in light of current information, doctors should warn patients about the risks of cannabis during pregnancy".
Wu noted that cannabis can pass through the placenta to bring "significant risks to the fetus".
You believe that, in light of the new attitude of society, more laissez-faire to the use of cookware in general, "a public health campaign may be needed to reverse the general view on the safety of cannabis during pregnancy ".
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