Pregnant women who smoke cannabis during pregnancy are more likely to give birth to smaller babies.
Smoking during pregnancy has well-documented negative effects on birth weight in infants and is related to several childhood health problems. Researchers at the University of Buffalo’s Research Institute, who recently conducted a study on addiction, have found that prenatal use of marijuana can also affect infant weights and can influence behavioral problems, particularly when they are associated with smoking.
“Nearly 30% of women who smoke cigarettes during pregnancy also report using marijuana,” said Rina Das Eiden, Senior Researcher. “This number is likely to increase as many states go toward the legalization of marijuana, so it’s imperative that we know what effects prenatal marijuana use can have on infants.”
The researcher studied nearly 250 infants and their mothers. Of these, 173 infants had been exposed to tobacco and / or marijuana during pregnancy. None have been exposed to significant amounts of alcohol.
Smoking cannabis during pregnancy has an impact on the size of the infant
Researcher Rina Das Eiden found that infants who had been exposed to tobacco and marijuana, especially in the third trimester, were smaller, lighter, by weight, had a smaller head size and were more likely to be premature. These results were more significant for boys than for girls.
“Our findings suggest that interventions with women who smoke cigarettes or use marijuana during pregnancy should also focus on reducing stress and helping them cope with negative emotions,” said the researcher. “This can help reduce prenatal exposure and subsequent behavioral problems in infants.”