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2009 to 2016 Saw Increase in Prenatal Marijuana Use

Greatest increases seen for pregnant females aged younger than 18 years, those aged 18 to 24 years

pregnant teen

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 27, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Prenatal marijuana use increased from 2009 to 2016 for pregnant women of all ages, according to a research letter published in the Dec. 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Kelly C. Young-Wolff, Ph.D., M.P.H., from Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland, and colleagues examined trends of prenatal marijuana use from 2009 to 2016 among pregnant females aged 12 years or older in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California health care system. The adjusted prevalence of prenatal marijuana use was estimated via self-report or toxicology annually. Data were included for 279,457 females.

The researchers found that the adjusted prevalence of prenatal marijuana use increased from 4.2 to 7.1 percent from 2009 to 2016; prevalence was higher based on toxicology than self-report. For each age group there was a significant increase in adjusted prevalence from 2009 to 2016: from 12.5 to 21.8 percent for those aged younger than 18 years; from 9.8 to 19 percent for those aged 18 to 24 years; from 3.4 to 5.1 percent among women aged 25 to 34 years; and from 2.1 to 3.3 percent for women aged older than 34 years. Prenatal use increased at annual relative rates of 1.088, 1.092, 1.08, and 1.057, respectively.

"Of concern, 22 percent of pregnant females younger than 18 years and 19 percent of pregnant females aged 18 to 24 years screened positive for marijuana use in 2016," the authors write.

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