Demographic, emotional and social determinants of cannabis use in early pregnancy: the Generation R study

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2008 Dec 1;98(3):218-26. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2008.05.010. Epub 2008 Jul 7.


Aims: To ascertain demographic, emotional and social determinants of cannabis use in early pregnancy.

Design: This study was embedded in the Generation R study, a multiethnic population-based cohort of parents and their children, followed from pregnancy to childhood.

Setting: Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Participants: Mothers enrolled in pregnancy who answered questions about their own and their partners substance use before and during pregnancy (n=7610).

Measurements: Using self-report questionnaires, information was collected on maternal demographics, psychopathology, delinquency, childhood trauma, social stress, family functioning, and parental alcohol, tobacco and substance use. Multinomial logistic regression analysis was used, with non-using women as reference.

Findings: 246 (3.2%) women used cannabis before pregnancy and 220 (2.9%) women used cannabis both before and during pregnancy. The strongest determinant for maternal cannabis use during pregnancy was cannabis use by the biological father of the child (OR=38.56; 95%CI=26.14-58.88). Maternal cannabis use during pregnancy was also independently associated with being single (OR=4.25; 95%CI=2.33-7.75) or having a partner without being married (OR=2.75; 95%CI=1.56-4.85), childhood trauma (OR=1.39; 95%CI=1.22-1.57) and delinquency (OR=3.37; 95%CI=1.90-5.98), but not with maternal age, ethnicity, psychopathology, family functioning and perceived stress. Being religious was protective (Islam: OR=0.25; 95%CI=0.09-0.65) for maternal cannabis use during pregnancy. Additionally, lower educational level determined continued cannabis use in ever-users (OR=3.22; 95%CI=1.54-6.74).

Conclusions: Our results showed that multiple demographic, emotional and social characteristics were associated with maternal cannabis use. These characteristics should be considered when investigating offspring exposed to cannabis in utero, as they may play an important role in mother-child interaction and child development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Cannabis / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Education
  • Ethnicity
  • Family
  • Female
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Marijuana Abuse / epidemiology*
  • Marijuana Abuse / psychology*
  • Marital Status
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy / drug effects*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Religion
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Social Environment
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Young Adult