Cannabis Use Disorder in Pregnancy Tied to Worse Infant Outcomes

Concurrent tobacco use and minority race/ethnicity status further worsen outcomes with cannabis use disorder during pregnancy

THURSDAY, May 6, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Prenatal cannabis use disorder (CUD) is associated with higher odds of major adverse neonatal outcomes, according to a study published online April 22 in Addiction.

Yuyan Shi, from University of California, San Diego, and colleagues used mother-infant linked hospital discharge records, as well as birth and death certificates to examine associations between prenatal CUD and adverse neonatal outcomes. The analysis included 4.83 million mothers who delivered a live singleton birth during 2001 to 2012 and their paired infants.

The researchers found that CUD increased from 2.8 to 6.9 per 1,000 deliveries from 2001 to 2012. Prenatal CUD was associated with greater odds of being small for gestational age (odds ratio [OR], 1.13), preterm birth (OR, 1.06), low birth weight (OR, 1.13), and death within one year of birth (OR, 1.35) in a matched analysis. When examining CUD and tobacco use, infants whose mothers were tobacco users and had CUD had greater odds of preterm birth, low birth weight, hospitalization, and death compared with tobacco nonusers. Infants whose mothers had CUD and were Hispanic had greater odds of hospitalization and death, and infants whose mothers had CUD and were non-Hispanic Black had greater odds of being small for gestational age compared with White women with CUD.

“These data reinforce the case for caution around using cannabis during pregnancy,” Nora D. Volkow, M.D., director of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, said in a statement. “Careful analysis of data like these is one way we can responsibly study how cannabis use affects the developing child, all while a natural experiment is playing out across our country in places where cannabis is becoming widely available to pregnant consumers.”

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