The percentage of pregnant women who use cannabis is mixed according to research.
According to a study published last year, cannabis use among pregnant Americans increased from 6.8% to 8.1% during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The percentage may be higher, however, since not all pregnant women report cannabis use to their doctors.
According to a 2015 study, treatment admissions for substance misuse increased from 29% to 43% for pregnant women using cannabis during pregnancy.
Data from 2002-2012 showed that 14.6% of pregnant teenagers ages 12 to 17 reported using cannabis while pregnant, according to a 2017 study.
During pregnancy, pregnant women commonly use cannabis to alleviate “morning sickness” symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, anxiety, stress, and pain.
There are, however, some adverse effects associated with cannabis use during pregnancy, including:
- low birth weight
- stunted fetal growth
- birth before 37 weeks gestation
- increased risk of stillbirth
It is also possible for new parent to harm their baby while nursing if they use cannabis.
It has been shown in this older study from 1990 that cannabis exposure during breastfeeding can affect a baby’s motor development at one year of age.
Impact of prenatal cannabis exposure on adolescents
David Baranger, a postdoctoral scholar at Washington University, says the new research builds on a previous study the research team conducted in 2020.
Among children ages 9-10, prenatal cannabis exposure was associated with worsened mental health outcomes, including:
- sleeping issues
- problems with impulsivity
- difficulty paying attention
Almost 12,000 children from the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development Study (ABCD Study) were included in that study.
“We followed up with the same children, who are now 12 years old, to see if anything had changed,” Baranger told MNT.
“Have they improved, or have they deteriorated?” We were surprised to find that children with prenatal cannabis exposure still had worse mental health outcomes.
From ages 9 to 12, Baranger said, elevated rates of psychopathology symptoms persist. Anxiety, depression, and other psychiatric conditions are among these symptoms.
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