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More US Women Use Marijuana During Pregnancy, Says Study

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More women admitted to using medical and nonmedical marijuana during pregnancy in 2017 than in 2001, according to a new study. The drug is also more prevalent among those who are in the first trimester of their pregnancy.   ( Daniel Reche | Pixabay )

The number of mothers-to-be who use marijuana products increased in 2017, especially among those who are in the first trimester of their pregnancy.

A new study analyzed the data of 4,400 pregnant women and 133,900 nonpregnant women between the ages of 12 and 44 who participated in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Each participant was asked about their pregnancy status and history of medical and nonmedical marijuana use.

Marijuana Use Among Pregnant Women Increasing

The researchers found that, overall, the number of pregnant who admitted to using marijuana in the past month increased to 7 percent in 2017. For comparison, in 2002, the percentage of pregnant women who used marijuana in the past month was only 3.4 percent.

The data also revealed that the drug was more often used during the first trimester than in the second or third trimester of the pregnancy. Among those surveyed, 12.1 percent of pregnant women used marijuana during the first trimester in 2017, a significant increase from 5.7 percent in 2002.

Increase in daily or near-daily marijuana use was also observed by the researchers. From 0.9 percent in 2002, 3.4 percent of women used marijuana daily or near daily.

Responders also reported more frequent marijuana use in 2017 than in 2001. The number of days that pregnant women used marijuana increased on average, from 0.4 in 2002 to 1.1 in 2017.

Medical Marijuana Use During Pregnancy

In addition, the researchers asked pregnant women whether marijuana use was recommended by their physician. From 2013 to 2017, only 0.5 percent of the reported marijuana use in the past month was for medical purposes.

"Although many states have approved cannabis for nausea/vomiting (including in pregnancy), the results suggest that clinicians might not recommend it during pregnancy," the authors of the study wrote in the paper published in the medical journal JAMA.

The American College of Obstetrician and Gynecologists does not recommend marijuana use among pregnant women. In 2017, the organization encouraged mothers-to-be to cease the use of marijuana before and during pregnancy due to potential adverse health consequences.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that many of the chemicals in marijuana can pass through the mother's system and negatively affect the baby's health.

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