Marijuana is the most commonly used drug by pregnant women and its use is only increasing, according to a new study.
The research, published Tuesday in JAMA, investigated trends of prenatal pot use. Out of 279,000 pregnant California women surveyed, researchers found that marijuana use increased from 4.2 percent to 7.1 percent from 2009 to 2016. The majority of these women were teenagers and young adults—22 percent were pregnant women younger than 18 years old and 19 percent were between 18 and 24.
Some pregnant women reported using weed during pregnancy to deal with morning sickness, anxiety, depression, and other conditions.
“Initial evidence suggests that prenatal marijuana may impair fetal growth and neurodevelopment, but 79 percent of 785 pregnant women surveyed between 2007 and 2012 reported perceiving little to no harm in prenatal use,” the research letter said.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the effects of marijuana on a fetus remain unclear, but cautions against low birth weight and developmental problems and recommends women who are planning to become pregnant or are currently pregnant and using pot to talk to a doctor. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says pregnant women should seek alternative therapy rather than use marijuana.