Cannabis consumption early in pregnancy increases risk of poor outcomes, new study

As more states legalize marijuana for recreational use, researchers are investigating the possible health effects of cannabis use during pregnancy.

Into a new one study presented at the Association for Maternal Fetal Medicine‘s annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting – en published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology – researchers revealed findings that suggest so cannabis use in the first six to fourteen weeks of pregnancy is associated with poor pregnancy outcomes they are tight related to the function of the placenta.

The placenta plays an important role during pregnancy, including providing a baby with oxygen and nutrients, removing harmful wastes and carbon dioxide, and producing hormones that help a baby grow. Medications, drugs, alcohol and nicotine can be transferred from a pregnant woman’s bloodstream to the baby through the placenta.

Researchers analyzed urine samples collected during the Nulliparous Mothers-to-Be (nuMoM2b) study, a large, diverse multicenter cohort of pregnant people. Of the 10,038 nuMoM2b participants, researchers included data from 9,257 pregnant people in their first trimester of pregnancy.

Following a drug screening for marijuana, the researchers found that 540 (5.8%) tested positive for marijuana, meaning those individuals were most likely to have used cannabis in the first six to 14 weeks of their pregnancy. The study found that cannabis use early in pregnancy is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes related to the placenta, such as poor fetal growth, stillbirth and an increased risk of developing high blood pressure during pregnancy.

“We specifically wanted to look at cannabis use early in pregnancy, because that’s when the placenta is forming, and a lot of the information we currently have indicates that cannabis use affects the placenta,” said the study’s lead author. Torri D MetzMD, MS, maternal-fetal medicine subspecialist and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Utah Health in Salt Lake City.

The next step, researchers say, is to look at continued cannabis use during pregnancy and whether “the window of exposure” matters.

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Photo by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash

Cannabis consumption early in pregnancy increases risk of poor outcomes, new study

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