Researchers at the University of Adelaide have recently completed a study which shows that marijuana use by pregnant women can significantly increase the risk of premature birth, and the risk is more than twice that of women who do not use marijuana at all during a pregnancy. This medical study involved over 3,000 women who were pregnant, and the results have determined all of the risk factors for a preterm birth, which can lead to serious medical complications for the newborn and even problems later in life. The lead author and study researcher was Professor Dekker. To illustrate the study findings Dekker explained “Our study has found that the risk factors for both forms of preterm birth vary greatly, with a wide variety of health conditions and histories impacting on preterm birth.”
The possible risk factors for premature birth are very varied. The research study lists many factors that can contribute to premature birth, and marijuana use is one of these factors. Even the use of this drug before pregnancy can cause a higher rate of early births. “Better understanding the risk factors involved in preterm birth moves us another step forward in potentially developing a test – genetic or otherwise – that will help us to predict with greater accuracy the risk of preterm birth. Our ultimate aim is to safeguard the lives of babies and their health in the longer term,” according to Professor Dekker. This study underlines the importance of substance abuse treatment, and ideally this treatment will be offered before pregnancy even occurs.