According to a study, more pregnant women in the United States have been using marijuana, especially in their first trimester.
The study was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Overall, the percentage of pregnant women who reported using marijuana in the past month increased from 3.4% to 7% from 2002 to 2017. Marijuana use increased from 5.7% to 12.1% in the first trimester. Researchers found that pregnant women consistently reported using more medical marijuana in the first trimester than in the second or third trimesters.
The researchers looked at the data of 4,400 pregnant women and 133,900 non-pregnant women who participated in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. They asked questions to the participants about their current pregnancy status, past-month marijuana use, the number of days they used marijuana, and daily or nearly daily use of marijuana.
The overall marijuana use “increased from 0.9% to 3.4%, with an increase of 1.8% to 5.3% in the first trimester, 0.6% to 2.5% in the second trimester and 0.5% to 2.5% in the third trimester.”
Also, pregnant women reported using marijuana for more number of days in 2017 than in 2002.
The study investigators wrote, “Although many states have approved cannabis for nausea/vomiting (including in pregnancy), the results suggest that clinicians might not recommend it during pregnancy.”
The authors noted, “The low percent of pregnant women who got a doctor’s recommendation for marijuana could reflect the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ stance to discontinue marijuana use in pregnancy.”
According to the CDC, the health effects of marijuana on an unborn baby have not yet been established; however, they could lead to developmental problems and low birth weight.
The CDC stated, “Most birth defects occur in the first trimester of pregnancy when the organs are forming.” The authors said, “That’s why marijuana’s effects on fetal growth could be more pronounced in women who consume marijuana frequently, especially in first and second trimesters.” The researchers wrote, “This study highlights the importance of screening and interventions for cannabis use among all pregnant women.”