A growing number of pregnant mums in the US are admitting to using marijuana despite the impact it has on their unborn child.
While the use of recreational cannabis is illegal in Australia, the number of mums in the US who admit to using the drug while trying to conceive or in the early stages of pregnancy is on the rise.
A new study has found that 12.5% of women surveyed had used marijuana in the year prior to becoming pregnant, and perhaps more disturbingly, 3.4% continued the habit while pregnant.
Weighing Up The Risks
Lead author of the study and research scientist Kelly Young-Wolff says that many women are unaware of the effect marijuana may have on their unborn child.
“No amount of cannabis use has been shown to be safe during pregnancy,” she said. “We do know that cannabis crosses the placenta and reaches the fetus.
Babies whose mothers used marijuana while pregnant were shown to be at greater risk of health concerns, including low birth weight.
“There is reason to think that the risks vary depending on how women are using, and there has been an increase in alternative forms of cannabis consumption in recent years, like vaping and edibles,” Kelly said.
Advice from the Mater Mother’s Hospital in Brisbane reflects the finding of the study, with pregnant women and mothers who are breastfeeding advised to eliminate the drug completely.
“Babies exposed to regular cannabis use during pregnancy may exhibit withdrawal-like symptoms after birth,” their website reads. “Cannabis enters breast milk to some extent and may also affect breast milk supply.”
A study conducted by The University of Adelaide in 2016 also found that cannabis use could contribute to babies being born pre-term, potentially threatening their survival.
“Based on our findings, we consider marijuana to be a major public health concern for pregnant women and their babies,” the study said.
Are you surprised by the number of women who use marijuana while pregnant? Share your thoughts in the comments.