A study has been conducted in Australia and New Zealand to determine some of the most common risk factors for giving birth to a baby prematurely. One of the risks was marijuana use before pregnancy, which has been found to more than double a woman’s risk of giving birth prematurely.
Over 3,000 pregnant women were studied by Professor Gus Dekker and his team. The research was published today in PLoS ONE, a research journal.
Dekker’s study found that smoking marijuana increased the risk of preterm birth from 8%, which is the average, to 15-20%.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Dekker did acknowledge that some of these women may have also smoked marijuana during their pregnancy, which could have added to the increased risk of delivering a baby before its due date.
Because of this, Scientists were unable to 100% conclude that marijuana is indeed a cause of premature birth. In the study they explained, “We are unable to determine whether this association is due to a toxic effect of marijuana or is a marker of a suite of lifestyle factors that contribute to the risk.”
Other risk factors studied were family history of preterm births, having a mother with diabetes, low BMI, hypertension, or a history of babies with low birth weight in the family.
The end goal of the study is to work toward the creation of a test that will help determine or predict whether a baby will be born preterm. This would help their doctors get the baby to full term, or at the very least be prepared for an early arrival and the risks that go along with premature births.