If you are pregnant and using any type of cannabis product, consider stopping.

That’s according to a new study that found marijuana has significant health effects on fetal development in early pregnancy.

“That’s why these findings are so important — people can often be well into the first trimester and not even know they’re pregnant,” said Beth Bailey, professor of psychology and director of population health research at the College of Medicine. Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant.

“Our study looked specifically at a specific time in pregnancy – the first trimester. We found a significant reduction in birth weight of 154 grams. Pound-for-pound, that’s about a third of a pound,” she said.

While one-third of a pound may not seem like much, modest weight loss due to marijuana use has been linked to health problems as children grow older, Bailey said.

“Low birth weight is one of the predictors of a child’s health and long-term development,” she said. “These children are at risk for developmental delays, higher rates of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), learning disabilities, and severe mood disorders.

Birth weight was reduced by another 31 grams (0.07 pounds) if exposure continued throughout the rest of pregnancy, the study found. Also, if marijuana is used during pregnancy, the newborn’s head circumference is reduced. A slight head turn may be a sign that the brain did not develop properly during pregnancy.

“Even if pregnant women stopped using marijuana in the third trimester, the babies were born with smaller head circumferences of 1 centimeter (0.4 inches),” Bailey said. “What we tell women is that if you use marijuana, it’s not absolutely certain that it will affect your baby’s development. But we know you’re at a higher risk for that outcome.

While reducing marijuana use during pregnancy is beneficial, it may not be enough to protect the developing baby, Bailey said, because scientists don’t yet have research data to determine whether there is a level of marijuana use that does not harm the fetus, Bailey said. .

The safest way? “My advice to women is to avoid using marijuana during pregnancy, and if possible, stop using marijuana before becoming pregnant,” Bailey said.

The study, published Tuesday in the journal Frontiers in Pediatrics, used medical data from 109 pregnant women who gave birth at the obstetrics clinic at Central Michigan Medical College. That data was compared to data from 171 people who did not use marijuana and served as a control group.

Pregnant women who used marijuana were significantly younger, single, and less likely to be covered by Medicaid, and less likely to have an education beyond high school than non-marijuana users.

Although the study numbers were small, the research was strong because marijuana use was confirmed by urine tests, said Brianna Moore, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health in Aurora. She did not participate in the study.

“Urine THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) testing is more objective than self-reporting, because pregnant women don’t want to disclose that they use cannabis,” she said.

Research shows self-reported cannabis use during pregnancy. Around 7%, Moore added. however, 2019 study Screening for TCH umbilical cords found that cannabis use during pregnancy could be as high as 22.4 percent.

Many pregnant women may use cannabis to treat pregnancy-related symptoms such as nausea and pain, or as a ‘substitute’ for medications such as antidepressants, Moore said.

David Zalubowski/AP/File.

Marijuana use can affect fetal development during the first trimester, when many people may not even know they are pregnant.

“However, one study indicates that very few pregnant women (0.5%) use cannabis strictly for medical purposes,” said Moore. “There is work to be done to understand the contextual, social or individual factors that influence cannabis use during pregnancy.

“This will help to identify techniques and tools to limit the use of cannabis during pregnancy,” she added Intelligence methods Over-the-counter medications to deal with anxiety or ‘triggers’ and nausea and the like.”

Marijuana use during pregnancy is on the rise, Bailey said.

Compounding the problem, studies conducted in the ’90s did not look at specific trimesters and generally found little harm to the fetus because of marijuana use, Bailey said. Some old information may be circulating on social media these days.

“At that time, the impact on birth weight was minimal and studies showed long-term small gains in children,” Bailey said. However, what we’re looking at legally is that people are probably using it more, and today we have marijuana strains with strong THC levels as marijuana grows commercially. In the last 10 years of research, we are seeing significant effects on the fetus.

When negative health behaviors are combined, the impact can be even worse. Previous research has “well established” that smoking during pregnancy has a greater effect on birth weight than exposure to marijuana, Bailey said.

“But we see a bigger effect on birth weight when women smoke cigarettes and marijuana than you would get from both alone,” she said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *