Cannabis During Pregnancy Can Lead To Low Birth Weight Infants Interview with:

Cara Christ, M.D., M.S. Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services

Dr. Cara Christ

Cara Christ, M.D., M.S.
Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Christ: This study was a systematic review. The purpose of a systematic review is to critically assess and summarize the best available research evidence on a specific issue. This usually involves a critical synthesis of the results of several high quality studies on the issue under review. Overall, this review found that infants exposed to cannabis during pregnancy had a 77% higher likelihood of being underweight (<2500grams) at birth, compared to infants whose mothers did not use cannabis. Also, if the mother used cannabis during pregnancy, the likelihood of her infant needing to be placed in a neonatal intensive care unit was two times higher compared to those infants whose mothers did not use cannabis during pregnancy. What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Christ: This review found that use of cannabis during pregnancy may have some adverse effects on fetal health, such as low birth weight and NICU placement. Pregnant women could benefit from education on the potential side effects of using cannabis during pregnancy. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Christ: Available evidence suggests potential adverse outcomes for infants whose mothers used cannabis during pregnancy. As states and countries continue to legalize the use of cannabis, research is needed to further explain the relationship between cannabis use during pregnancy and fetal health. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Dr. Christ: Improving healthy birth outcomes for all babies born in Arizona is one of our goals. We know proper prenatal care is one of the best ways to make sure babies are born healthy. This may include taking prenatal vitamins, making changes to your diet, and not taking drugs or alcohol.  Women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant should have a discussion about the risks and possible adverse effects to their baby for all medications and substances they are taking. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Prenatal exposure to cannabis and maternal and child health outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis

J K L Gunn, C B Rosales, K E Center, A Nuñez, S J Gibson, C Christ, J E Ehiri

BMJ Open 2016;6:4 e009986 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009986

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Cara Christ, M.D., M.S. (2016). Cannabis During Pregnancy Can Lead To Low Birth Weight Infants

Last Updated on April 6, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD