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Pot use among pregnant women rising, study says

Pot use among pregnant women rising, study says

Pot use among pregnant women rising, study says

A growing number of pregnant women are using marijuana, and the habit is expanding fastest among teens and young adults, a USA study suggests.

While only about 30 percent of the pregnant women in the study reported that they used marijuana in a survey, about 55 percent tested positive for it in a drug screen, though self-reporting did increase in line with use each year. For pregnant teens under 18, marijuana use climbed from 12.5 percent to 21.8 percent. According to the research published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, "the prevalence of self-reported, past-month marijuana use among USA adult pregnant women increased from 2.4 percent to 3.9 percent".

A new study, published Tuesday in JAMA, asked more than 275,000 pregnant women who were being treated at one of the facilities in the the Kaiser Permanente Northern California system to fill out a survey.

In 2018, marijuana will be legally available for recreational use, suggesting that that even more pregnant women may have access to and indulge in it.

The committee opinion stated that while most women believe that smoking marijuana is safe during pregnancy, it should be discouraged because scientists still don't know exactly what it does to developing fetuses.

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"Because of the possibility of concurrent use of marijuana and other substances of abuse, the evidence of its direct association with preterm labor, fetal growth restriction, preterm birth, low birthweight and stillbirth is still debatable, though these adverse effects lean more towards an increased likelihood of occurrence", Yankey continued.

Overall, there was an increase in cannabis use among study subjects, from four percent to seven percent, over the seven-year period.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that "women who are pregnant or contemplating pregnancy should be encouraged to discontinue marijuana use" and "to discontinue use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in favor of an alternative therapy."Additionally, "there are insufficient data to evaluate the effects of marijuana use on infants during lactation and breastfeeding, and in the absence of such data, marijuana use is discouraged", according to the recommendations".

Medical use of marijuana is already legal in California, which was one of the first states to legalize marijuana for that use two decades ago. However, self-reported data is notoriously unreliable. Pregnant women who reported to have consumed marijuana in the past month jumped from 2.37 percent to 3.85 percent from 2002 to 2014. "It does vary quite a bit, which makes it tricky", Young-Wolff said.

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