Studies show that consuming cannabis while pregnant can have some serious health risks for the unborn child, so why are so many women still doing it?
That's the question Dr. Celestina Barbosa-Leiker hopes to answer in a new study. Despite the results of studies showing consuming cannabis during pregnancy can cause neuro-developmental issues and cognitive impairments in unborn children, cannabis remains the most commonly used illicit substance among pregnant women. Nearly three quarters of women believe there is no risk associated with marijuana use during pregnancy.
Barbosa-Leiker is leading a pair of studies that will look at cannabis consumption and its effects on pregnancy. The first will discuss perceptions of cannabis use with both pregnant women and women who have recently given birth. The primary question will be why they chose to consume cannabis while pregnant.
"That's one of the things that we would like to know," Barbosa-Leiker—who is associate dean for research and director of Washington State University's Program of Excellence in Addictions Research—told the Spokesman Review. "We just want to capture as many women's experiences as possible."
Barbosa-Leiker's second study will be more observational. It will examine the effects that cannabis use during pregnancy has on parental bonding, birth satisfaction and parenting anxieties. The participants will fill out a questionnaire initially and return for move questioning and observation after giving birth.
Barbosa-Leiker say the results of these two studies should be published around this time next year. Hopefully the results will lead to a better understanding of why women are choosing to consume cannabis during pregnancy despite the documented risks.