Maternal marijuana use has independent effects on risk for spontaneous preterm birth but not other common late pregnancy complications

Reprod Toxicol. 2016 Jul;62:77-86. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2016.04.021. Epub 2016 Apr 30.


Widespread legalisation of marijuana raises safety concerns for its use in pregnancy. This study investigated the association of marijuana use prior to and during pregnancy with pregnancy outcomes in a prospective cohort of 5588 nulliparous women from the international SCOPE study. Women were assessed at 15±1 and 20±1 weeks' gestation. Cases [278 Preeclampsia, 470 gestational hypertension, 633 small-for-gestational-age, 236 spontaneous preterm births (SPTB), 143 gestational diabetes] were compared separately with 4114 non-cases. Although the numbers are small, continued maternal marijuana use at 20 weeks' gestation was associated with SPTB independent of cigarette smoking status [adj OR 2.28 (95% CI:1.45-3.59)] and socioeconomic index (SEI) [adj OR 2.17 (95% CI:1.41-3.34)]. When adjusted for maternal age, cigarette smoking, alcohol and SEI, continued maternal marijuana use at 20 weeks' gestation had a greater effect size [adj OR 5.44 (95% CI 2.44-12.11)]. Our data indicate that increasing use of marijuana among young women of reproductive age is a major public health concern.

Keywords: BMI; Marijuana; Pregnancy outcome; Smoking; Spontaneous preterm birth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ireland / epidemiology
  • Marijuana Use / adverse effects*
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth / epidemiology*
  • Risk
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Young Adult