As more states consider marijuana legalization, new research published in the Journal of Perinatology describes how cannabis exposures during pregnancy could affect infants’ growth and development.
Researchers at the University of Iowa, HealthPartners Institute, and the University of Minnesota analyzed data on 3,435 women receiving prenatal care in the HealthPartners care system over a 21-month period. Urine testing, a routine part of pregnancy care in the care system, showed 283 women had cannabis in their system while pregnant.
According to the study, babies born to women who had cannabis in their system during pregnancy were more likely to have their birth weight for age at or below the 10th percentile, also known as small for gestational age. Additionally, 9.1 percent of the babies exposed to cannabis during pregnancy had an abnormal developmental screening at 12 months of age, compared to 3.6 percent of babies who were not exposed to cannabis during pregnancy.
This research adds to the growing body of literature on the effects of prenatal use of marijuana on fetal and child development,” says Dr. Paul Romitti, professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa College of Public Health and senior author of the study. “With marijuana use being legalized in more states, the potential for use among women who are pregnant or not aware that they are pregnant has increased.”
The study was funded by a grant awarded from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to Dr. Romitti at the University of Iowa.
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