More pregnant women are smoking pot, sometimes turning to the drug to calm their nausea and morning sickness, a new U.S. report warns.
Columbia University scientists say that the overall percentage of expectant moms smoking weed is low, but it’s steadily increasing.
In 2002, about 2.4 per cent of women admitted to smoking pot while pregnant. By 2014, about four per cent said they got high during their pregnancy.
“Although the prevalence of past-month use among pregnant women is not high, the increases over time and potential adverse consequences of prenatal marijuana exposure suggest further monitoring and research are warranted,” the study’s co-author, Dr. Deborah Hasin, said.
“To ensure optimal maternal and child health, practitioners should screen and counsel pregnant women and women contemplating pregnancy about prenatal marijuana use,” she said.
The U.S. team relied on data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health – about 200,000 women were studied. Turns out, women who weren’t expecting picked up smoking pot more, too.
Keep in mind, medical marijuana is legalized in all 50 states but not for pregnancy-related conditions. The laws don’t touch on the potential harms tied to smoking while pregnant either, though.
The medical community has already warned that prenatal marijuana exposure could be linked to issues, such as low birth weight and impaired brain development in a growing baby.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, for example, recommends that pregnant women and women thinking of conceiving should stay away from marijuana and other drugs.
“Human studies have shown that some babies born to women who used marijuana during their pregnancies respond differently to visual stimuli, tremble more, and have a high-pitched cry, which could indicate problems with neurological development. In school, children prenatally exposed to marijuana are more likely to show gaps in problem-solving skills, memory, and the ability to remain attentive,” the National Institute on Drug Abuse said on its website.
“More research is needed, however, to disentangle marijuana’s specific effects from other environmental factors,” it said.
The full findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
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