Document Type

Master's Culminating Experience

Publication Date



Background: Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit substance in pregnancy, often used concurrently with tobacco, increasing the risk for prematurity and low birth weight. Programs such as Healthy Start and CenteringPregnancy® provide resources and prenatal care to women in underserved communities in hopes of improving birth outcomes.

Objective: Evaluate marijuana use in pregnant women living in Montgomery County, Ohio in the highest risk zip codes (45402, 45403, 45405, 45414, 45416, 45417, 45426) and determine if use at delivery is lower in women enrolled in CenteringPregnancy® compared to women who were not. Methods: A secondary analysis of previously collected de-identified data examined marijuana use among 182 women who delivered their babies between January 2016 and April 2017. Outcomes of interest were tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and gestational age at delivery. Variables included maternal age, race, zip code, education, and poverty level and type of insurance. Descriptive and inferential statistical analyses were performed.

Results: Black women with a high school education living below the poverty line had higher rates of THC at intake. There was no significant association between participation in CenteringPregnancy® and marijuana cessation by delivery; however, rates of cessation were higher among those in Healthy Start alone. Positive THC at intake increased odds of preterm birth and participation in CenteringPregnancy® decreased odds, although not statistically significant.

Conclusion: Participation in community based prenatal care programs may be beneficial in targeting high-risk, underserved populations to encourage cessation of illicit substances and improve birth outcomes. Further evaluation with a larger sample size is needed.

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mph_akoto_shanice_poster.pdf (212 kB)

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