Study finds increased cannabis use during pregnancy

June 28, 2019

A recent news release indicated cannabis use more than doubled among pregnant women in the United States during the period 2002-2017, according to data collected from 467,100 women aged 12-44 who participated in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).

After adjusting for age, race/ethnicity, and family income, past-month cannabis use, daily/near cannabis use, and number of days of cannabis use all increased among pregnant women.

Cannabis use was more common during the first trimester than during the second and third. In addition, cannabis use for medical purposes was relatively rare, but just as frequent among pregnant as non-pregnant women.

Between 2002-2003 and 2016-2017, past-month cannabis use increased from 3.4 to 7.0 percent among pregnant women overall and from 5.7 to 12.1 percent during the first trimester.

Daily/near daily cannabis use in the past month increased from 0.9 to 3.4 percent among pregnant women overall, and from 1.8 to 5.3 percent during the first trimester; from 0.6 to 2.5 percent during the second trimester; and from 0.5 to 2.5 percent during the third trimester.

Cannabis use during pregnancy has been associated with effects on fetal growth, including low birth weight and length, and these outcomes may be more likely among women who consume marijuana frequently during pregnancy, especially in the first and second trimesters.

This study emphasizes the need to screen and intervene for cannabis use among all pregnant women and underscores the need for additional research to assess fetal outcomes related to prenatal cannabis exposure.

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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