The Prevalence and Significance of Gestational Cannabis Use at an Australian Tertiary Hospital: Perinatal associations of gestational cannabis

Oyekoya T. Ayonrinde, Mikaela Dunn, Clare Bradley, Scott White, Derrick M. Van Rooyen, Oyedeji A. Ayonrinde, Shailender Mehta, Petrovia Fisher, Gargeswari Sunanda, Robert Tait

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Cannabis is one of the most common non-prescribed psychoactive substances used in pregnancy. The prevalence of gestational cannabis use
is increasing.
Aim: The aim was to examine the prevalence of gestational cannabis use and associated pregnancy and neonate outcomes.
Materials and Methods: A retrospective observational study involving pregnant
women delivering in 2019 was conducted at a tertiary hospital in Perth, Western
Australia. Gestational cannabis and other substance use records were based on
maternal self-report. Pregnancy outcomes included neonatal gestational age,
birthweight, birth length, head circumference, resuscitation measures, special care
nursery admission, 5-min Apgar score and initial neonatal feeding method.
Results: Among 3104 pregnant women (mean age: 31 years), gestational cannabis
use was reported by 1.6% (n = 50). Cannabis users were younger, more likely to use
other substances and experience mental illness or domestic violence compared
with non-users. Neonates born to cannabis users had a lower mean gestational
age, birthweight and birth length compared to those born to non-cannabis users.
Gestational cannabis use (odds ratio (OR) 3.3, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.6–6.7)
and tobacco smoking (OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.5–3.6) were associated with increased odds
of a low-birthweight neonate. Combined cannabis and tobacco use during pregnancy further increased the likelihood of low birthweight (LBW, adjusted OR 3.9,
95% CI 1.6–9.3). Multivariate logistic regression analysis adjusted for maternal sociodemographical characteristics, mental illness, alcohol, tobacco and other substance use demonstrated gestational cannabis use to be independently associated
with LBW (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.1–5.2).
Conclusion: Gestational cannabis use was independently associated with low
birthweight, synergistically affected by tobacco smoking.

cannabis, fetus, low birthweight, pregnancy, preterm birth
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-12
Number of pages7
JournalThe Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number1
Early online dateJul 2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


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