Pot Smoking in Pregnancy Tied to Increased Risk of Stillborn

marijuana-chirldbirth-stillborn

Columbus OBGYN advises that expectant mothers who smoke marijuana may actually by tripling their risk for a stillbirth (fetal death after 20 weeks of pregnancy).

This risk is also reported to be increased by smoking cigarettes, using other legal and illegal drugs and being subjected to secondhand smoke. Stillbirth risk is heightened whether moms are exposed to just pot or in combination with other substances.

In fact, studies have revealed that 94 percent of mothers who had stillborn babies consumed one or more of these substances. Even when findings are regulated for cigarette smoking, marijuana use is associated with an increased risk of stillbirth.

Among drugs, signs of marijuana use were most often discovered in the umbilical cord blood from stillborn babies.  And because marijuana use may be increasing with increased legalization, the relevance of these findings may increase as well.

Your Columbus OBGYN feels that both obstetric care providers and the public should be aware of the connection between both cigarette smoking, including passive exposure, and recreational/illicit drug use, and stillbirth.  And although the numbers were lesser related to prescription narcotics, there appears to be an association between exposure to these drugs and stillbirth as well.

It’s clear that there is an increased risk of stillbirth with women who are smoking marijuana. Some of it is overlapping with smoking cigarettes, and we know that cigarette use is also associated with stillbirth.  So the more a woman smokes, the higher the risk.

Studies found that in 94 percent of the stillbirths tested, results were positive for an illegal drug, and the most common drug discovered was marijuana, which was associated with a 2.8-fold increase for stillbirth.

How strong the association is between all these different drugs and stillbirth isn’t easy to pin down.  In pregnancy it’s sometimes difficult to determine the exact cause of things, but there is clearly some connection there.

Although all the evidence isn’t in, your  Columbus OBGYN advises women not to smoke, use drugs or drink when planning to become pregnant or when expecting.  The same is true for secondhand smoke; it’s probably best not to be around it, but if you’re married to a partner who smokes or you’re in a family of smokers, it’s going to be difficult to manage.


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Dr. Otto Umana Otto Umana
MD, FACOG
 
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