Marijuana use doubles risk of premature birth

A large international study led by University of Adelaide researchers has found that women who use marijuana can more than double the risk of giving birth to a baby prematurely. Preterm or premature birth can result in serious and life-threatening health problems for the baby, and an increased risk of health problems in later life, such as heart disease and diabetes.

"Our study has found that the risk factors for both forms of preterm birth vary greatly, with a wide variety of health conditions and histories impacting on preterm birth," says Professor Gus Dekker, who is the lead author of the study. "Better understanding the risk factors involved in preterm birth moves us another step forward in potentially developing a test - genetic or otherwise - that will help us to predict with greater accuracy the risk of preterm birth. Our ultimate aim is to safeguard the lives of babies and their health in the longer term," he said

Other risk factors identified in the study included having a mother with diabetes and/or a history of preeclampsia, a family history of low birth weight babies, short stature, participant's not being the first born in the family, longer time to conceive, mild hypertension, family history of recurrent gestational diabetes, and maternal family history of any miscarriage.

Press release : Marijuana use doubles risk of premature birth

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