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Beliefs about marijuana use during pregnancy and breastfeeding held by residents of a Latino-majority, rural region of California.


Marijuana use among pregnant and breastfeeding women is on the rise and carries risks for infant health and well-being. Decisions to use marijuana while pregnant and breastfeeding are motivated by beliefs that use poses minimal risk to infants and offers benefits to maternal users. Misperceptions and usage trend higher among disadvantaged populations. This study surveyed 401 community residents on beliefs about risks and benefits of marijuana use by pregnant and breastfeeding women. The study utilized techniques to enhance recruitment of Latino and disadvantaged residents of rural communities in California, a state where recreational marijuana use is legal. Analyses revealed substantial endorsement of beliefs about benefits and low risks of marijuana use while pregnant and breastfeeding, many of which run counter to current evidence. Misperceptions were particularly prevalent for cannabis users and male respondents. Trends in valid beliefs, while modest, were higher for Latinos and parents.

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