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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Marijuana Use May Cause Stillbirths

Warning signs exist on packages of cigarettes and bottles of alcohol, pregnant women should stay away due to the possible birth defects. Those who smoke marijuana are not bombarded with warning labels, but as marijuana use becomes regulated in certain states warning labels may start popping up and for good reason. New research indicates that smoking marijuana may increase the risk of stillbirth three-fold.

94 percent of mothers who had stillborn babies used one or more substances during the pregnancy, HealthDay reports. Researchers studied 663 stillbirths and 1,900 live births; they found marijuana was the most common drug found in umbilical cord blood from stillborn infants.

The researchers tested umbilical cord blood, as well as the mother's blood, for the presence of a variety of illegal drugs.

“Because marijuana use may be increasing with increased legalization, the relevance of these findings may increase as well,” said lead researcher Dr. Michael Varner of the University of Utah School of Medicine. Another study author, Dr. Uma Reddy of the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said it is not known why marijuana may increase the risk of stillbirth.  

The study appears in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.
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