Pregnancy And Pot: Weed Out The Facts
All across the country, states are legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use. As the laws have loosened around the use of marijuana, it’s common to hear about how safe – even beneficial – weed can be. It may seem like smoking weed just isn’t a big deal anymore. But if you’re pregnant – or may become pregnant – there are some important things to know before you light up a joint.
Can smoking weed during pregnancy hurt my baby?
When you’re pregnant, anything you put on your skin or into your body can affect the baby growing inside you – whether you’re eating it, drinking it, or smoking it.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend that pregnant women do not use marijuana during pregnancy because it can cause harmful effects for the baby. Some research shows a lower birth weight and a greater chance of stillbirth or premature birth for babies whose moms smoked weed during pregnancy. And because marijuana smoke has a lot of the same chemicals as cigarette smoke, there are many of the same dangers for developmental delays in a developing baby. As your baby’s brain develops, any chemicals you ingest can affect that development.
What about edible marijuana?
Edible marijuana still contains THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which can affect the baby’s development. And because your body processes edible marijuana differently than smoked marijuana, it takes longer to feel the effects of edible marijuana. Some users eat more to feel the effects more quickly, but there’s no sure way to know how strong the marijuana is before eating it. This increases your risk of overdosing on edible marijuana.
I’ve been using medical marijuana. Is it safe for me to keep using it?
In short, no. It isn’t safe. Medical marijuana isn’t any safer than recreational marijuana. It carries the same risks for you and for your developing baby.
If you’ve been using medical marijuana, talk to your OB-GYN about safer alternative treatments.
I heard weed can help with nausea. Can I use it to help my morning sickness?
Again, the short answer is No. Even if you think the weed is helping alleviate one problem, it still carries the risk of causing more problems. If you’re having serious morning sickness, talk to your OB-GYN. There are FDA-approved medications to help with morning sickness. And these medications won’t harm your baby.
I smoked weed before I knew I was pregnant. Is my baby going to be OK?
If you stopped using weed as soon as you found out you’re pregnant, you’ve reduced the risks for yourself and your baby. But it’s still important that you let your OB-GYN know if you exposed your baby to marijuana at any point during the pregnancy. Your doctors can take better care of you if they’re fully informed about all risks.
What if I’m addicted?
If it’s hard or feels impossible for you to stop using weed, there are people who can help you. You can find resources on the website of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). SAMHSA also has a 24-hour treatment referral line: 800-662-HELP (4357).
Weeding out the facts
Both the CDC and ACOG recommend that women not use weed during pregnancy. Marijuana use has been associated with developmental delays, brain development, low birth weight, premature delivery, and stillbirth. It also increases the risk of dizziness, falls, and breathing problems for the pregnant mom. And because all marijuana isn’t the same, you never know the exact strength or chemical make-up of the weed you’re using, so you can’t be certain what the dangers and risks are.
If you’re pregnant or you might become pregnant, talk to your doctor honestly about all of your drug and alcohol use so your doctor can take the best care possible of you and your baby. You deserve to be healthy and to give your baby the best possible chance of being healthy.