More pregnant women smoking pot

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Citing lack of data on the health affects of cannabis use on pregnant women, the researchers "investigated trends of prenatal marijuana use from 2009-2016 using data from a large California health care system with universal screening via self-report and urine toxicology". In 2016, more than one-in-five (21.8 percent) women under the age of 18 reported to using the drug in the past month, up from 12.5 percent in 2009.

In 2018, marijuana will be legally available for recreational use, suggesting that that even more pregnant women may have access to and indulge in it.

There's been a rise in the number of pregnant women who are using marijuana to soothe anxiety and morning sickness. In aggregated 2002-2012 data, 14.6% of USA pregnant adolescents reported past-month use.

"Because of the possibility of concurrent use of marijuana and other substances of abuse, the evidence of its direct association with preterm labor, fetal growth restriction, preterm birth, low birthweight and stillbirth is still debatable, though these adverse effects lean more towards an increased likelihood of occurrence", Yankey continued.

Researchers relied on self-administered questionnaires completed by 279,457 women eight weeks into their pregnancy.

Researchers say the data comes from self-reported surveys that "likely underestimate use" of the drug.

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The proportion of women there who used marijuana in some form while they were pregnant almost doubled between 2009 and 2016.

The bottom-line? Experts encourage women considering cannabis use during pregnancy to talk to their doctors, which is fair, considering the fact that we're our own best health advocates.

In October, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), which discourages marijuana use among pregnant or breastfeeding women, said that prenatal marijuana use could cause harm to an infant's brain development and function.

Recreational marijuana use is now legal in eight USA states and the District of Columbia.

Medical use of marijuana is already legal in California, which was one of the first states to legalize marijuana for that use two decades ago. However, on a federal level, it is still illegal to possess, use, buy, sell, or cultivate marijuana.