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Researchers observed a sample of pregnant women in California and saw a 3-percent increase in use form 2009 through 2016.

Marijuana use among pregnant women is on the rise, according to a new study.

In many states, medical marijuana can be prescribed for treating conditions including severe nausea and pain - both of which may affect pregnant women - but the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends women stay away from weed if they want to have a baby.

More than 20 percent of pregnant teenagers tested positive, and 19 percent of expectant mothers between 18 and 24 had used marijuana while they were pregnant.

The proportion of women there who used marijuana in some form while they were pregnant almost doubled between 2009 and 2016.

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Yankey added that the effects of marijuana use on a fetus depends on dosage and frequency of consumption.

While the letter does not discuss any potential problems from pot use during pregnancy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises pregnant women to avoid it.

But data on the actual effects of using marijuana during pregnancy is still unclear. The study participants completed questionnaires about their marijuana use and took a cannabis toxicology test during their standard prenatal care visits from 2009 through 2016.

Prenatal exposure to marijuana has been associated with low birth weight, impaired brain development, and effects on behaviour. As of January 1, recreational marijuana will be legal in the state for people over 21.

Medical use of marijuana is already legal in California, which was one of the first states to legalize marijuana for that use two decades ago. A total of 23 states have laws that allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes to some extent.