The Impact of Marijuana Use During Pregnancy on Maternal and Neonatal Health

Image of a part of a cannabis plant (marijuana)

The use of marijuana during pregnancy has been a topic of increasing concern, with studies suggesting a potential link to adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes. Recent research, as reported by NBC News and Healio, highlights the associations between cannabis exposure during pregnancy and heightened risks, particularly in terms of low birth weight, small for gestational age, preterm birth, and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admission. This article delves into the key findings of these studies, exploring the implications for maternal and neonatal health.

Analysis of Data and Increased Risks:
The study covered by NBC News involved the analysis of data from over 9,000 expectant mothers in the United States. The results indicated a correlation between cannabis exposure during pregnancy and an elevated risk of adverse outcomes, with a particular emphasis on low birth weight. The report highlights that the risk escalates with an increase in the consumption of marijuana during pregnancy. These findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Consistent Findings in Similar Studies:
Corroborating these findings, Healio reports a similar trend in the risks associated with in-utero cannabis exposure. The study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found a link between marijuana use during pregnancy and increased risks of low birth weight, small for gestational age, preterm birth, and NICU admission. This consistency across studies strengthens the evidence pointing towards the potential harms associated with marijuana use during pregnancy.

Low Birth Weight and Its Ramifications:
One of the most significant concerns highlighted in the research is the association between cannabis exposure during pregnancy and low birth weight. Babies born with low birth weight are at a higher risk of health complications and developmental issues. Understanding the implications of low birth weight is crucial in emphasizing the importance of avoiding marijuana use during pregnancy.

Small for Gestational Age and Preterm Birth:
The studies also underscored the increased risks of babies being small for gestational age and experiencing preterm birth due to in-utero cannabis exposure. These factors can contribute to a range of health challenges for the newborn, affecting both short-term and long-term outcomes. The correlation between marijuana use and these adverse outcomes demands attention from healthcare professionals and pregnant individuals alike.

NICU Admission as an Indicator:
The association between cannabis exposure during pregnancy and NICU admission is particularly noteworthy. Neonatal intensive care unit admission is an indicator of serious health concerns and complications at birth. Identifying marijuana use as a potential contributor to the need for NICU care emphasizes the urgency of addressing this issue in prenatal care discussions.

In conclusion, the studies covered in this article shed light on the concerning link between marijuana use during pregnancy and adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes. The consistent findings across different research endeavors emphasize the need for awareness and education regarding the potential risks associated with cannabis exposure during pregnancy. Healthcare providers play a crucial role in disseminating this information to expectant mothers, encouraging them to make informed decisions for the well-being of both themselves and their babies. As societal perspectives on marijuana use evolve, it becomes imperative to prioritize evidence-based information in discussions surrounding maternal and neonatal health.


El Camino Women’s Medical Group offers the latest Minimally Invasive Solutions for gynecologic problems.   Drs. Amy TengErika Balassiano, Pooja Gupta, and Vanessa Dorismond all members of AAGL (American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopy), are highly trained and experienced in the field of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery.   Dr. Erika Balassiano has also completed a Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Fellowship under the supervision of world-renowned Dr. Camran Nezhat.

All of our physicians are El Camino Hospital doctors and operate and deliver at the Mountain View campus.

Serving Mountain View, Los AltosLos Altos HillsAthertonPalo AltoRedwood CityBurlingameSaratogaCupertinoSunnyvale, Los GatosCampbellSan JoseSanta Clara, Silicon Valley, MilpitasFremont, South Bay, East Bay, and North Bay.