Study: More women use pot dur­ing preg­nancy

The Times-Tribune - - Health & Science - LIND­SEY TANNER

CHICAGO — U.S. women are in­creas­ingly us­ing mar­i­juana dur­ing preg­nancy, some­times to treat morn­ing sick­ness, new re­ports sug­gest. Though the ac­tual num­bers are small, the trend raises con­cerns be­cause of ev­i­dence link­ing the drug with low birth weights and other prob­lems.

In 2014, al­most 4 per­cent of preg­nant women said they’d re­cently used mar­i­juana, up from 2.4 per­cent in 2002, ac­cord­ing to an anal­y­sis of an­nual drug use sur­veys.

Dr. Nora Volkow, direc­tor of the Na­tional In­sti­tute on Drug Abuse, said the re­sults raise con­cerns and urged doc­tors and other health care providers to avoid rec­om­mend­ing the drug for preg­nant women. Dr. Volkow com­mented in an edi­to­rial pub­lished on­line Mon­day with the study in the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion.

Strong ev­i­dence of harm is lim­ited, but besides low birth weights, new­borns whose moth­ers used mar­i­juana while preg­nant may face in­creased risks for ane­mia and other prob­lems re­quir­ing in­ten­sive care. Mem­ory and at­ten­tion prob­lems also have been found in older chil­dren whose moms used mar­i­juana in preg­nancy, Dr. Volkow noted.

How mar­i­juana might lead to those prob­lems is un­clear but Dr. Volkow said one the­ory is that it might in­ter­fere with for­ma­tion of nerve cells and cir­cuits in the brain dur­ing fe­tal de­vel­op­ment.

The Amer­i­can Col­lege of Ob­ste­tri­cians and Gyne­col­o­gists dis­cour­ages mar­i­juana use by women who are preg­nant or breast­feed­ing.

SETH PERL­MAN / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Al­most 4 per­cent of U.S. preg­nant women in 2014 said they’d re­cently used mar­i­juana, up from 2.4 per­cent in 2002, ac­cord­ing to a new study.

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