CNN – If you are pregnant and use any form of cannabis product, consider stopping.
That’s the takeaway from a new study that found a significant health impact of marijuana use on fetal development as early as the beginning of pregnancy.
“That’s why these findings are especially important — people can often be well into the first trimester and don’t even know they are pregnant,” said lead author Beth Bailey, professor of psychology and director of population health research at the College of Medicine at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant.
“Our study drills down to look very specifically at a specific time point in pregnancy — the first trimester. We found a significant decrease in birth weight of 154 grams. In terms of pounds, it’s about a third of a pound,” she said.
While one-third of a pound may not seem to be much, such slight decreases in weight have been linked to health problems as children grow, Bailey said.
“Low birth weight is one of the strongest predictors of a child’s health and development long-term,” she said.
“These kids are more prone to developmental delays, higher rates of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), learning disabilities, and have higher rates of emotional problems.”
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If marijuana exposure continued during the rest of the pregnancy, birth weight dropped by another 31 grams (0.07 pound), the study found.
In addition, the head circumference of the newborn was reduced if marijuana use continued throughout pregnancy.
Smaller head circumference could be a sign the brain didn’t develop properly during pregnancy.
“Even when pregnant people stopped using marijuana by the third trimester, the babies were born with a smaller head circumference of about 1 centimeter (0.4 inch),” Bailey said …