Archives of Women's Mental Health

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 105–111 | Cite as

Marijuana use and pregnancy: prevalence, associated characteristics, and birth outcomes

  • Katrina MarkEmail author
  • Andrea Desai
  • Mishka Terplan
Original Article


This study examines the prevalence, behaviors, and birth outcomes associated with marijuana use in pregnancy. This was a retrospective cohort from a university-based prenatal care clinic from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010. The primary exposure was marijuana use, defined by self-report or urine toxicology. Demographic and outcome data were determined by chart review and analyzed by chi-square test, Fisher’s exact test, ANOVA, and logistic regression. Three hundred and ninety-six patients initiated prenatal care during this time frame; 116 (29.3 %) of whom screened positive for marijuana at initial visit. Patients who used marijuana were less likely to have graduated high school (p = 0.016) or be employed (p = 0.015); they were more likely to use tobacco (p < 0.001) or alcohol (p = 0.032) and report a history of abuse (p = 0.010) or depressed mood (p = 0.023). When analyzed via logistic regression, only tobacco use remained associated with marijuana use (adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 3.3; 95 % confidence interval (CI): 1.9–5.9). Birth outcomes were available for 170 (43.0 %) patients. Only 3 (1.9 %) tested positive for marijuana at the time of delivery. Marijuana use was not related to incidence of low birth weight (13.8 % vs 14.0 %, p = 1.00), preterm delivery (17.7 % vs 12.0 %, p = 0.325), or NICU admissions (25.5 % vs 15.8 %, p = 0.139). Prenatal care utilization was equal between marijuana users and non-users. Although marijuana is common among obstetric patients at prenatal care initiation, most cease use by delivery. Marijuana is strongly correlated with cigarette use. We found no differences in birth outcomes or utilization of prenatal care by marijuana exposure.


Marijuana Pregnancy Birth outcomes 


Author descriptions

Mishka Terplan MD MPH FACOG Diplomate ABAM

Mishka Terplan is board certified in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and Addiction Medicine. He is currently the Medical Director of Behavioral Health System Baltimore, a non-profit organization coordinating much of the addiction treatment in the city.

Katrina S Mark MD

Katrina Mark is a Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She is the Medical Director of the Women’s Health Clinic and participates in a multi-disciplinary group that coordinates care for pregnant women with addictions.

Andrea Desai MD

Andrea Desai is a fourth year resident in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Maryland. She has been accepted into a fellowship in Maternal/Fetal Medicine.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive SciencesUniversity of Maryland School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Department of Epidemiology and Public HealthUniversity of Maryland School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Behavioral Health System BaltimoreBaltimoreUSA

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