According to a recent study, obstetrical care providers often do not counsel their pregnant patients who use marijuana about the potential risks associated with its use during pregnancy. In fact, nearly half of pregnant women who disclosed marijuana use did not receive any sort of counseling or information specific to the use of marijuana during pregnancy.
This is a growing problem given that the use of marijuana –recreational and medical — is on the rise in reproductive aged women.
As we have discussed, the use of cannabis during pregnancy has been associated with a spectrum of risks to the developing fetus. (We have reviewed these findings in previous posts here and here.) These include:
- Increased risk of intrauterine growth restriction
- Low birth weight
- Increased risk of stillbirth
- Cognitive delays and deficits, poor executive functioning
With regard to the use of cannabis during pregnancy, we must council women who are pregnant or planning to conceive in the same way we counsel them regarding the use of tobacco, alcohol, or prescription drugs. Our data regarding the reproductive safety of cannabis is limited, and there is evidence to suggest that its use during pregnancy may pose some risks to the developing fetus. If the woman is using cannabis for medicinal purposes, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women who are pregnant or are contemplating pregnancy should be counseled to discontinue use of marijuana in favor of an alternative therapy for which there are better data regarding reproductive safety.
Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD
Few Ob/Gyns Counsel Pregnant Patients About Marijuana Use (Medscape – free subscription)
Holland CL, Rubio D, Rodriguez KL, Kraemer KL, Day N, Arnold RM, Tarr JA, Chang JC. Obstetric Health Care Providers’ Counseling Responses to PregnantPatient Disclosures of Marijuana Use. Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Mar 7. [Epub ahead of print]