Marijuana use increases among pregnant women in California, study says

Marijuana Use by Pregnant Women Is on the in California

Pot-smoking on the rise among US pregnant women

Marijuana use among pregnant mothers in California rose from 4.2 percent to 7.1 percent from 2009-2016.

The increase was especially sharp among young women, rising from 12.5 percent to almost 22 percent for mothers to be under the age of 24, in the years between 2009 and 2016.

More than 20 percent of pregnant teenagers tested positive, and 19 percent of expectant mothers between 18 and 24 had used marijuana while they were pregnant.

California's initiative requires marijuana products to bear labels warning of potential health hazards, including that marijuana use while pregnant or breastfeeding could be harmful.

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The Kaiser Permanente researchers analyzed medical records from more than 30,000 pregnant women in its insurance network in California.

The study also reported an increase in pot usage among older pregnant women ages 25 to 34.

"We investigated trends of prenatal marijuana use from 2009-2016 using data from a large California health care system with universal screening via self-report and urine toxicology".

One expert said the rise may be attributed to the increased availability of legal marijuana in recent years.

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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.

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California became the first US state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. "So I think the idea that use is rising is just because of the greater legal exposure to marijuana that women have today versus 20 years ago".

Guidelines in the United Kingdom also note that if you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, the safest approach would be not to drink alcohol at all. "They absolutely don't smoke, drink or use any drugs during pregnancy", said Horsager-Boehrer, who is an editor of the Your Pregnancy Matters blog.

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