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Prev Med. 2019 Feb;119:17-23. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2018.12.002. Epub 2018 Dec 12.

Women's perspectives about cannabis use during pregnancy and the postpartum period: An integrative review.

Author information

1
Department of Family Practice, Midwifery Program, University of British Columbia, Suite 320 - 5950 University Boulevard, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3, Canada. Electronic address: hamideh.bayrampour@ubc.ca.
2
University of British Columbia, Suite 320 - 5950 University Boulevard, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3, Canada.
3
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Abstract

Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug among general and pregnant populations. Despite recommendations to abstain from cannabis use, its use is increasing during the perinatal period. In this integrative review, we aim to understand women's perspectives about the health aspects of perinatal cannabis use. The following databases were searched: MEDLINE, PsycInfo, EMBASE, and CINAHL. We included quantitative and qualitative studies with a primary focus on perinatal cannabis use. The methodological quality of the included studies was appraised using appropriate checklists. Extracted data were integrated into a single data matrix and iteratively compared across studies to summarize and synthesize the data. Full text of 33 citations was retrieved and reviewed of which 6 studies met the inclusion criteria. Women who continued to use cannabis during pregnancy often perceived no general or pregnancy-specific risk compared to nonusers. The uncertainty regarding adverse perinatal consequences, its perceived therapeutic effects, and lower costs of cannabis compared to that of cigarettes contributed to cannabis use. A lack of communication with health care providers regarding the health aspects of cannabis was evident. Women perceived this lack of counseling as an indication that adverse outcomes associated with cannabis use are not significant. Women's perceptions of health risks associated with cannabis use are important factors in the decision-making process regarding use or cessation, particularly as legal concerns are fading away. A discussion about health concerns surrounding cannabis use may influence women's perceptions of risk and help them to make informed choices.

KEYWORDS:

Cannabis; Marijuana; Perspectives; Postpartum; Pregnancy; Risk

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