By Alan Mozes
MONDAY, April 17, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Adding to issues about the harms of teenage pregnancy are new U.S. survey final results that show 14 percent of teenage mothers-to-be smoke marijuana.
This big national survey discovered that a lot more than twice as several pregnant 12- to 17-year-olds use marijuana as their nonpregnant peers. And significantly much more use the drug than pregnant girls in their 20s, stated Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Proof regarding pot’s effects on the developing fetus is limited, but the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that pregnant women cease employing the drug.
“Some of the research that do exist recommend that there are dangers to the pregnancy from pot use,” stated Dr. Judy Chang, associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh.
These risks contain “scrawnier babies, little ones who have some difficulties with their thinking and learning skills, [and] children who locate it tougher to do far more complex brain tasks when they are teenagers,” said Chang, who wasn’t involved in the survey.
Teen pregnancies are already related with smaller sized babies partly simply because young moms-to-be are significantly less most likely to obtain prenatal care than older girls. They are also far more likely to smoke throughout pregnancy, says ACOG.
The new findings stem from a 2002-2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Well being that explored marijuana use among 410,000 females ages 12 to 44. About 14,400 survey participants have been pregnant at the time of polling.
All participants were asked about their pregnancy status and pot use throughout the prior month. Final tallies were primarily based on self-reports, which could imply the benefits underrepresent true usage.
“We found that almost four percent of [all] pregnant girls reported marijuana use in the previous month,” said Volkow.
Pot use was considerably reduce for adults 26 and older (less than 2 %) than for those 18 to 25 years old or teens 12 to 17.
Also, blacks were much more probably than whites or Hispanics to use pot for the duration of pregnancy, the survey discovered.
Volkow stated her group was “surprised” at the difference among pregnant and nonpregnant teens who employed pot — 6 percent of nonpregnant teenagers, compared to slightly more than 14 % who were expecting.
“Although we can not establish causality, it is very likely that teens who are more prone to threat-taking usually could be much more most likely to each use marijuana and to have unprotected sex,” said Volkow.
The survey also revealed that pot use in pregnancy was a lot more widespread for the duration of the initial trimester, “when fetuses may possibly be most susceptible to harm from drugs,” the investigators mentioned.
That “could indicate that some girls may possibly be using marijuana for managing their nausea, and/or that they have been unaware that they were pregnant,” Volkow mentioned.
Chang wasn’t surprised by the findings.
“Studies are showing increased acceptance and use of marijuana among adolescents and elevated use amongst pregnant females,” she noted. “So it really is not surprising to see improved use amongst pregnant adolescents.”
But Chang’s personal investigation and other studies discovered that “even when pregnant individuals say that they are utilizing pot to treat morning sickness, the use in fact began ahead of they got pregnant,” she added.
No matter the underlying explanation, Chang recommended that issues more than the lengthy-term impact deserve far more scientific interest.
“We know that pot affects the brain. That is what causes its effects,” she mentioned. “What these other studies suggest is that there could be a risk of causing brain harm in a creating infant with pot smoking throughout pregnancy.”
Volkow agreed. The component of marijuana that causes the high — the cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) — may possibly also influence neural improvement and brain maturation, she said.
Prior analysis suggests that in-womb exposure to even low amounts of THC may increase the newborn’s extended-term danger for addiction, Volkow stated.
The survey benefits appear in the April 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.