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Gewählte Publikation:

Ziegler, F.
The use of cannabis during pregnancy and breastfeeding and its effects on the newborn – including effects on General Movements
Humanmedizin; [ Diplomarbeit ] Graz Medical University; 2019. pp. 65 [OPEN ACCESS]


Autor*innen der Med Uni Graz:
Pansy Jasmin
Raith Wolfgang

Background: Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug worldwide. About 2% and 13% of women use cannabis during pregnancy (intrauterine cannabis-exposure) in the Western world. Researchers associate chronic cannabis-exposure as a risk factor for spontaneous-preterm-birth (SPTB) and small-for-gestational-age (SGA). Postnatal, there might be an increased risk of developing a neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) or a motor and cognitive retardation. Objective: We evaluated the effect of intrauterine cannabis-exposure on newborns at the Division of Neonatology in Graz (Austria). Furthermore, the purpose is to conclude the state-of-the-art for intrauterine cannabis-exposure and its impact on newborns. Methods: A literature search was conducted to form a narrative review, including 40 scientific articles and 14 other sources. We conducted a retrospective data analysis of newborns coded with NAS diagnosis (n=150;2000-2016) and identified newborns with exclusive intrauterine cannabis and possible concomitant tobacco-exposure. Along with weight and gestational age, the percentile rank was evaluated. We routinely assessed the Finnegan-Score, and since 2015 also the General Movements (GMs) in infants with NAS to assess the neurological function. Results: According to the literature, the most significant effects of intrauterine cannabis-exposure are a threefold risk for an SGA and a risk of decreased birth weight (about 110g or rather 272g). Furthermore, there is a sevenfold increased risk for SPTB and a doubled risk for a NICU admission. Between 2000 and 2016 five newborns with cannabis-associated NAS were identified, thereof four in the last two years. Three had a mild NAS. Two infants with NAS got medication and were assessed by General Movement Assessment (GMA). The GMs were scored as abnormal (“poor-repertoire”) during the first weeks of life. After the third month of life they normalised. Finally, four of five infants were released to foster parents. Conclusion: The state-of-the-art shows that intrauterine cannabis-exposure can cause an NAS. It remains uncertain if the Finnegan-Score is adequate to assess a cannabis-associated NAS. The GMs can be biased by the NAS symptoms during the first weeks of life. At the Division of Neonatology in Graz a small increase, based on a small number of cases, was considered. The difficult social situation is notable.

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