Results from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health have revealed that while pregnant women are drinking less and smoking less tobacco, they’re using more cannabis, Time reports.
Between 2002 and 2016, about 12,000 pregnant women responded to the survey. The women were between 18 and 44 years old. 3,500 of the women were in their first trimester, which is considered a crucial time for fetal development.
Tobacco smoking fell considerably compared to previous results, down from 17.5% of expectant mothers to just 10% — this is slightly more than the national decline in overall tobacco use. Alcohol use among pregnant women also dropped slightly, from 10% to 8.5%.
Cannabis use, however, rose from 3% to 5%. Some theorize the rising instances of cannabis use by expectant mothers are due to cannabis reforms across the country, particularly for medical cannabis.
While researchers have not studied cannabis use nearly to the extent of other substances, the Centers for Disease Control and other public health organizations have advised against consuming the plant during pregnancy due to concerns about fetal development.
Researchers behind the survey said, “Greater public awareness regarding the consequences of prenatal cannabis exposure in offspring health is necessary.”