The Link Between Cannabis and Nicotine Use During Pregnancy and Increased Risk of Infant Mortality

A recent study revealed a concerning association between the concurrent use of cannabis and nicotine products during pregnancy and heightened risks of maternal and neonatal health complications, including infant and neonatal mortality, preterm birth, and infants born small for gestational age. Published in JAMA Network Open, the study analyzed data from pregnant individuals with singleton gestations in California, drawing attention to the amplified rate of infant mortality among those who used both substances, compared to nonusers or those using either cannabis or nicotine alone.

Dr. Jamie Lo, the study’s corresponding author, emphasized the significance of these findings in patient counseling, stressing the importance of abstaining from cannabis and nicotine use during pregnancy whenever possible. Even abstaining from one of these substances could mitigate the pregnancy risks associated with their combined use. Moving forward, researchers aim to delve deeper into factors such as dosage, timing, frequency, and mode of delivery of these substances, as well as investigating longer-term impacts on offspring associated with their concurrent use.

Experts caution against the use of cannabis and nicotine during pregnancy due to their adverse effects on fetal neurological function and placental function, respectively. Dr. Lea McMahon of Symetria Recovery advises patients to prioritize sobriety and seek treatment for substance use disorders to improve overall well-being. Dr. Pamela Berens from UTHealth Houston underscores the lack of adequate research on the safety of cannabis use during pregnancy, urging individuals to cease usage before and during pregnancy, if possible, to minimize risks.

The study underscores the importance of raising awareness about the risks associated with cannabis and nicotine use during pregnancy and emphasizes the need to eliminate the misconception that one substance is safer than the other. It is crucial to encourage abstinence from both substances to promote the health and well-being of pregnant individuals and their infants.

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