The association between the legalization of recreational marijuana and both small for gestational age births and NICU admissions in Colorado
Researchers have recently found no evidence that the legalization of recreational cannabis increases the risk for small gestational age (SGA) births but may be linked to neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admissions immediately post-birth. The study merely looks at the prevalence of both SGA and NICU admissions immediately post-legalization of recreational cannabis in Colorado and claims no causation conclusions can be drawn from the gathered data but did note an increase of 1% of NICU admissions per month immediately following legalization. The rate of the SGA births decreased following the new laws meaning cannabis may not affect the growth of a fetus or could improve development but future research is encouraged to ensure these results and identify possible causation for an increase in NICU admissions, which could be due to a myriad of factors.
This article serves as a call for research so that patients who take cannabis and fall pregnant are fully aware of the possible risks associated with continuing cannabis use during pregnancy. Currently, most obstetricians and gynecologists advise against cannabis use due to the lack of knowledge concerning cannabis and fetal development but those who fall pregnant and rely on cannabis are often left unaware of alternative options. Considering the uncertainty of the effects of cannabis on pregnancy outcomes and the inconsistency between the few studies currently published more research is definitely needed so that pregnant women can continue to receive safe and effective treatment.
The study is available for review or download here
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