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Dace Svikis, Ph.D. received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Minnesota. She is currently Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry and Obstetrics/Gynecology; Deputy Director of the Institute for Women’s Health, and Director, AWHARE Program on Addiction and Women’s Health at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has been involved in drug abuse research for > 30 years and is best known for her work in perinatal addiction. She has expertise in clinical trials of pharmacological and behavioral interventions, as well as the use of technology to bridge the research to practice gap. Dr. Svikis has > 150 publications and has served as PI on numerous federal (NIH) grants. She is committed to student and faculty mentoring. She is active in international work and serves as Co-Director of the International Programme in Addiction Studies (IPAS).
Prenatal cannabis use is associated with negative consequences such as low birthweight and preterm birth, with some evidence of adverse effects on childhood neuropsychological development as well (Richardson et al., 2002). In the USA, legalization by many states of medical or recreational cannabis use has coincided with increasing rates of use, including among pregnant and postpartum women. Among women with past year cannabis use, 16.2% reported daily/near daily cannabis use during pregnancy (Ko et al., 2015). Many women feel it is safe to consume cannabis during pregnancy, however, with little to no risk of harm to their newborns (Takakuwa & Schears, 2019). Similarly, practitioners often show less concern about prenatal cannabis use when compared to other illicit drugs. This presentation will summarize current research on risks associated with prenatal and postpartum cannabis use. Prevalence of cannabis and other substance use from a recent anonymous survey of N=120 pregnant women attending an urban prenatal care clinic will be presented. Participant attitudes about cannabis use during pregnancy will be summarized. Preliminary findings from a computer-delivered intervention for cannabis use during pregnancy will also be discussed (Ondersma et al., 2019). Finally, postpartum issues, such as cannabis use and breastfeeding, will be highlighted.