Moms-to-Be Warned About the Dangers of Marijuana

Scott Harms/Thinkstock(SALT LAKE CITY) -- Expectant mothers who use drugs are putting their babies at grave risk, particularly if the drug is marijuana.

New evidence from the University of Utah School of Medicine claims that women triple the risk of having a stillborn child -- that is, one delivered after the 20th week of pregnancy -- if they smoke pot.

Lead researcher Dr. Michael Varner adds, "Because marijuana use may be increasing with increased legalization, the relevance of these findings may increase as well."

In addition to the numerous states that make medicinal marijuana available, Colorado and Washington have legalized it while New York and Ohio decriminalized its use.

Varner also warns that the risk of fetal deaths is also greater when the expectant mother smokes cigarettes or uses other drugs either prescribed or illegal.

Although no cause-and-effect relationship was established with pot and stillbirth risk, study senior author Dr. Uma Reddy tells expectant moms, "Don't smoke.  If you smoke, stop. You should not use marijuana during pregnancy."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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