More women in California are using marijuana during pregnancy, study finds

More women in California are using marijuana during pregnancy, study finds

Unfortunately, studies show some pregnant women are smoking pot to ease morning sickness, and health officials are warning the trend could pose unknown problems for babies. A 2012 study of pregnant women in Brisbane, Australia published in Pediatric Research found that, on average, babies born to women who reported smoking weed during pregnancy were about 375 grams lighter than babies born to women who didn't smoke while pregnant.

The number of pregnant moms younger than 18 using marijuana rose from 12.5 percent to nearly 22 percent.

It was also discovered that pot-use among girls under 18 in the coastal state increased as well, climbing from 9.8 percent to 19 percent.

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).

Given how many pregnant women seem to be using pot, there's clearly a lot of confusion about its safety. The Centers for Disease Controls says marijuana use during pregnancy can impact birth weight, affect developmental milestones, and lead to addictive behavior later in life.

But the researchers believe that urine samples are likely to provide the most accurate picture of marijuana use in pregnancy, because people tend to hesitate about admitting such behaviors. But there is no evidence that this is a safe practice, and women who are thinking about using medical marijuana while pregnant should check with their doctor and consider the research before they use the drug. About 22 percent of teen mothers also tested positive for marijuana use at eight weeks of gestation.

The significant increase in marijuana use among pregnant women may be explained not only by increasing social acceptance of pot, but also possibly by increasing removal of government restriction of the drug.

"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.

The women who were asked to complete the study were in the early part of their pregnancy.

Research has shown that pregnant women who use marijuana have a 2.3 times greater risk of stillbirth. Instead, try eating something small - like a granola bar or a few crackers - before you get out of bed in the morning, eat more but smaller meals more frequently, stock up on ginger ale and bland foods like chicken broth, and take comfort in the fact that, at the very least, morning sickness can be a sign of a healthy pregnancy, even if it's not a particularly fun one.

Prior U.S. studies had suggested that marijuana use was on the rise in pregnancy, "however, [those] studies are limited to self-reported surveys", Young-Wolff's group noted.



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