Perinatal Services BC has released a new practice resource to guide health care providers in discussing cannabis use during pregnancy and lactation with women and pregnant individuals.
The purpose of this practice resource is to help health care providers facilitate conversations on cannabis use during pregnancy and lactation using a harm reduction approach that is women and person-centered, trauma informed, and culturally safe. This resource reviews the current evidence of cannabis use in pregnancy, the effects of cannabis use on pregnancy and lactation, and how to discuss cannabis use during pregnancy and lactation with your patients and clients.
On October 16, 2018, the Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) was passed, establishing a framework for the possession, distribution, sale and production of cannabis in Canada.(1) Cannabis is defined in the Act to include marijuana, hashish, hash oil or any other preparation of the cannabis plant.(1)
Prior to legalization, rates of cannabis use during pregnancy had already been on the rise with a noticeable increase from 4.9% of women reporting cannabis use in 2012 to 6.5% in 2017.(2) In 2016, approximately 3.5% of pregnant women and individuals in British Columbia (BC) reported cannabis use to their health care provider.(3) With 44,591 births occurring in BC in 2016/2017, this means that over 1,500 women in BC reported cannabis use.
With the legalization of cannabis, health care providers may notice an increase in self-reported cannabis use during prenatal visits as a result of increased access to cannabis and reduced stigma associated with recreational cannabis use. Therefore, health care providers have a critical role during this time to provide information on the health effects of cannabis use during pregnancy and lactation. It is recommended that obstetrical care providers use this resource to start having regular conversations about cannabis use with women and individuals contemplating pregnancy during their prenatal visits.
The Cannabis Use During Pregnancy and Lactation: A Practice Resource for Health Care Providers is available on the Perinatal Services BC website.
(1) Parliament of Canada. Cannabis Act; 2018.Available from: http://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/bill/C-45/royal-assent
(2) Corsi DJ, Walsh L, Weiss D, Hsu H, El-ChaarD, Fell DB, Walker M. Association BetweenSelf-reported Prenatal Cannabis Use and maternal, Perinatal, and NeonatalOutcomes. JAMA; 2019 June; epub.
Please join our Perinatal Partner Speaker Series Webinar, on November 14, 2019, 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (PDT).
- Dr. Sabrina Luke, Epidemiologist, PSBC
- Dr. Charissa Patricelli, Primary Maternity Care Physician, PSBC
- Lea Geiger, Provincial Coordinator, Baby Friendly Initiative, PSBC
- Christina Tonella, Provincial Director, PSBC
- Kristina Kattapuram, Project Coordinator, PSBC