August 29, 2019

March of Dimes today released the following statement from Rahul Gupta, MD, MPH, MBA, FACP, Chief Medical & Health Officer, Senior Vice President, in response to the release of the U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory: Marijuana Use and the Developing Brain

“March of Dimes applauds today’s release of the US Surgeon General’s Advisory on the dangers of marijuana use during pregnancy for both mom and baby. The evidence clearly shows that no amount of marijuana has been proven safe to use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Unfortunately, this message is not resonating with all expecting women and maternity care providers, and marijuana use among pregnant women has doubled between 2002 and 2017.

According to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, cannabis use in pregnant women has more than doubled over the past 15 years, from 3.4 percent to 7 percent, and use is more common during the first trimester of pregnancy. A National Institute on Drug Abuse study found cannabis use during pregnancy has been associated with effects on fetal growth, including low birth weight and length, and these outcomes may be more likely among women who consume marijuana frequently during pregnancy, especially in the first and second trimesters. 

“Today’s advisory and its associated digital campaign are critical to raising awareness among the public about the detrimental impact exposure to elta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has on an infant’s developing brain in utero. March of Dimes also applauds the Department of Health and Human Services’ commitment to accelerating research on the health effects of marijuana, and encourages the Department to prioritize pregnant women and their infants in that research. 

March of Dimes encourages women who are pregnant and considering using marijuana to treat the side effects of pregnancy to consult with their health care provider to identify treatments that are safer for both mom and baby. Further, pregnant women struggling with substance use disorders should seek assistance from their health care provider to begin appropriate treatment.“