More Pregnant Moms in California Getting High

Pregnant women consuming pot California legal marijuana Kaiser Permanente

According to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association moms to be in California - especially those under the age of 24 - are increasingly using marijuana during pregnancy. Among teen mothers under age 18, marijuana use during pregnancy surged from about 13 percent in 2009 to nearly 22 percent in 2016, researchers found. The percentage of women who revealed that they used marijuana in pregnancy, and those who had positive urine tests has increased, which means that in general, the non-pregnant population could be using it, meaning that using marijuana has became more normal, at least in California.

Notably, the study mentions that not all of the women who tested positive for cannabis in their first trimester knew they were pregnant when they last smoked (women typically don't know they're pregnant until they're one month along). The combination of increased risk for low gestational weight and preterm birth puts babies born to women who smoked weed during pregnancy at greater odds for NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) admittance. In October, more scientific information was added as well as a statement explicitly discouraging the use of marijuana among females while pregnant or breastfeeding. They asked these women to fill out a survey.

Rates of use were highest among the young, and dropped steadily as age rose during pregnancy, the researchers said. Since marijuana can remain in the body for up to 30 days, the women who gave urine samples when they were eight weeks pregnant could have stopped using the drug when they realized they were expecting.

Pregnant women or women contemplating pregnancy should be encouraged to discontinue use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in favor of an alternative therapy for which there are better pregnancy-specific safety data.

"Our state may be different because it was the first to legalize medical marijuana in 1996", said Young-Wolff, who is preparing to study prenatal marijuana after it becomes legal for recreational use in California on January 1.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), more research is needed on the effects of marijuana use on developing babies.

Research shows that marijuana use during pregnancy may be linked to future developmental and hyperactivity disorders in children.

Among the research included in the document is one involving pregnant laboratory animals that were exposed to the illicit drug.

"As of now, the idea is not to use marijuana for morning sickness", he said. The study researchers note that this is not good news for fetuses since "initial evidence suggests that prenatal marijuana may impair fetal growth and neurodevelopment", write the researchers in the study. Talk to your doctor about ways to relieve nausea or stress and look for other ways to relax that don't pose these possible problems for babies.

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