mail.magee.edu.2Magee-Womens Research Institute, 204 Craft Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15213, USA; UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Clinical Research Services, 300 Halket Street–Room Islays 401, Pittsburgh, PA, 15213, USA.3Magee-Womens Research Institute, 204 Craft Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15213, USA; Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, UPMC Rooney Sports Medicine Concussion Program, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 3858 S. Water Street, Pittsburgh, PA, 15203, USA.4Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.5Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 1218 Scaife Hall, Pittsburgh, PA, 15260, USA; Center for Health Equity Research & Promotion (CHERP), Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System, University Drive, Pittsburgh, PA, 15240, USA.6Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, & Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, 13065 E. 17th Avenue, Aurora, CO, 80045, USA.7Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 1218 Scaife Hall, Pittsburgh, PA, 15260, USA; Center for Research in Healthcare, University of Pittsburgh, 4200 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15260, USA; Clinical and Translational Science Institute, University of Pittsburgh, 3550 Terrace Street, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.8Department of Health Policy and Management, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, 130 DeSoto Street, Pittsburgh, PA, 15261, USA.9Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 1218 Scaife Hall, Pittsburgh, PA, 15260, USA; Center for Research in Healthcare, University of Pittsburgh, 4200 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15260, USA; Section of Palliative Care and Medical Ethics, Institute to Enhance Palliative Care, 230 McKee Place, Pittsburgh, PA, 15213, USA.AbstractOBJECTIVE:

With the increasingly permissive legal and social environments regarding marijuana, it is important to understand prenatal marijuana use from the perspective of women who use marijuana. Our objective was to qualitatively describe the marijuana use experiences, beliefs, and attitudes of women who used marijuana during pregnancy.

METHODS:

We conducted semi-structured interviews with pregnant women who had either reported current marijuana use or had urine testing positive for marijuana. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed for patterns and themes.

RESULTS:

Twenty-five pregnant women who used marijuana during their pregnancies participated in our study interviews. Main themes that emerged from the interviews were that women: 1) reported higher amounts of marijuana use prior to pregnancy and attempted to reduce their use once they realized they were pregnant; 2) used marijuana to help with nausea and appetite changes during pregnancy or to improve mood; 3) described marijuana as « natural » and « safe » compared to other substances such as alcohol, tobacco, other recreational drugs, and prescribed medications; 4) had conflicting opinions regarding whether marijuana was addictive; and 5) were uncertain but had some concerns regarding potential risks of prenatal marijuana use.

CONCLUSION:

Pregnant women who used marijuana in pregnancy held contradictory beliefs about continued use; they reported trying to reduce usage and were worried about potential risks, but also felt that marijuana is more natural and safer than other substances, including prescribed medicines. These findings have implications for how practitioners address prenatal marijuana use and highlight the need for further research on developmental outcomes.

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