The good news is that less pregnant women drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes. This emerges from a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics. But the bad news is that expectant mothers use marijuana, which can be a developmental hazard for their babies.

According to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics, the proportion of pregnant women who smoked cigarettes while awaiting a baby dropped significantly from 17.5% to about 10%. Alcohol consumption also fell from nearly 10% in 2002 to around 8.5% in this period. However, cannabis use in pregnant women seems to be increasing, possibly due to its legalization. This figure increased from 3% of pregnant women to almost 5%.

A baby hand (Photo by Jorgefontestad /

These statistics are based on responses to the National Drug Use and Health Survey. The study looked at approximately 12,000 pregnant women between the ages of 18 and 44, who participated in the survey between 2002 and 2016. About 3,500 of these women were in the first trimester of pregnancy, a very critical time for fetal development.

The use of marijuana during pregnancy can harm the baby's health, as the CDC reports. Marijuana-containing chemicals such as tetrahydrocannabinol or THC enter the baby through the mother's system and can interfere with the baby's development. Although more research is needed to understand how marijuana affects the fetus, the CDC recommends that mothers stay away from the abstention.

"The main benefit is that women should not use marijuana throughout their pregnancy," says Seth Ammerman, a clinical professor in the Department of Paediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University EVEN. "There is limited evidence, but what evidence out there can have detrimental consequences for the developing fetus and even in infancy and childhood."



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