What Are The Risks Of Using Weed During Pregnancy
There are more than 400 active chemicals in cannabis, some of which cross the placenta and enter the babys brain and tissue. Most research has focused on tetrahydrocannabinol , the primary psychoactive component of marijuana, and cannabidiol , the primary non-psychoactive component. After a pregnant woman uses weed, the amount of THC in her babys blood is about a third to a tenth of the level in her own blood. And CBD has been found to increase the placentas permeability, allowing for THC and other foreign substances to pass into the babys blood more easily.
Studying the effects of marijuana exposure on pregnant women and their children is complicated by the fact that women who use cannabis often use tobacco and other drugs, which makes it challenging to tease out the effects of the different substances and results in findings that are often conflicting and inconclusive.
The evidence is continuing to grow, says Jamie Seabrook, an associate professor in the School of Food and Nutritional Sciences at Brescia University College and one of the authors of the Ontario study. Marijuana is being consumed during pregnancy across all levels of education and income, and regardless of socioeconomic status its having a huge effect on low birth weight, even after adjusting for tobacco smoking.
The effects probably arent huge from what we can see now, but it doesnt mean that theyre not going to impact somebodys life in a negative way, Cook says.
What Is Cannabis Use Disorder
Cannabis use disorder may be diagnosed when a person has more than one sign of problem use — such as strong cravings to take the drug, withdrawal symptoms, and continuing to use it even when it’s causing problems at work or in relationships.
Based on medical records, few pregnant women in the study had a marijuana use disorder. But the rate increased over time — from just under 3 per 1,000 in 2001, to almost 7 per 1,000 in 2012.
Smoking During Pregnancy Effects On The Fetus
If you are pregnant, every time you smoke a cigarette, it cuts down oxygen to your unborn baby and exposes them to a cocktail of chemicals, including chemicals that cause cancer.
Some of the many damaging effects of cigarette smoke on the fetus include:
- reduced oxygen supply due to carbon monoxide and nicotine
- delayed growth and development
- increased risk of cleft lip and cleft palate
- impaired development and working of the placenta
- changes in the babys brain and lungs.
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Does Exposure To Marijuana Harm Babies
Evidence suggests that marijuana may negatively affect babies. Smoking marijuana during pregnancy is correlated with premature birth and low birth weight. It may also affect childrens learning and memory, intelligence and behaviour.
Although these studies are correlational, experts believe that the use of any drugs or alcohol during pregnancy can lead to health problems for both the mother and baby.
Tobacco, alcohol and other drugs can affect a developing fetus in a number of ways.
For example, fetal alcohol syndrome can occur when a mother drinks alcohol while pregnant. This can result in abnormal facial appearance, small size, low intelligence and behavioural problems in children.
The effects of marijuana on a newborn are less severe than alcohol, but there are still a number of ways that marijuana could affect a developing baby.
Mothers who smoke marijuana during pregnancy are reported to be more likely to give birth prematurely.
This means that babies have less time to fully develop before they are born. Babies born prematurely can have serious medical complications such as brain, heart, and breathing problems.
Low Birth Weight
Some studies have found that babies born to mothers that smoked marijuana during pregnancy are more likely to have a low birth weight.
Otherstudies stress that there is insufficient evidence to say with certainty that marijuana causes low birth weight or premature birth.
What Are Risks For Babies Of Moms With Cannabis Use Disorder
Babies born to moms with cannabis use disorder were more likely to be born early and underweight, versus babies whose mothers did not have the disorder but were similar in terms of race, education and overall health.
They were 6% more likely to be born preterm and 13% more likely to be either underweight or small for gestational age — a sign of growth restriction in the womb.
And while few babies died during the first year of life — fewer than 1% — those whose moms used marijuana heavily had a 35% higher risk.
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Weed Vs Prescription Drugs: What’s Safer For Nausea
Carmen, who is four months’ pregnant in Georgia, had to be hospitalized to treat nausea during her first pregnancy six years ago. She decided to use marijuana during her pregnancy now because she’s afraid about pharmaceutical side effects and also doesn’t want to be hospitalized again. USA TODAY is not using Carmen’s last name or hometown because marijuana isn’t legal in Georgia.
Carmen had to triple the dose of the prescription drug Zofran during her first pregnancy to relieve her extreme symptoms. She was so nauseous that she couldn’t consume food for long periods of time.
Using marijuana was more effective than taking multiple pills,” she says.
Carmen says she researched side effects of marijuana on the fetus when figuring out whether to use cannabis during pregnancy. But she says the studies she saw covered both smoking marijuana and smoking cigarettes, without differentiating. She says that because marijuana is more natural than the tobacco products in cigarettes, she didnt know how to interpret the studies.
What especially worried Carmen were reports about birth defects in babies whose mothers had taken Zofran, the brand name for odansetron. But Samantha Parker, assistant professor of epidemiology at Boston University and lead author of a study on odansetron, “this is a relatively safe medication for treatment of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.”
Up to 13% of pregnant women with nausea and vomiting take Zofran, Parker says.
Pregnancy And Quitting Smoking
Ideally, a pregnant woman should stop smoking. In reality, less than half of females quit when pregnancy is planned or confirmed. If you need help to quit, see your health professional for information and advice.
You can also call the Quitline . Quit Specialists will provide free support during your pregnancy and for some time after to help you remain a non-smoker. Aboriginal Quit Specialists are also available.
If you are finding it tough to stop smoking, dont despair. There is evidence to suggest that stopping smoking by the fourth month of pregnancy can reduce some of the risks, such as low birth weight and premature birth.
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What Happens If I Fail A Drug Test While Pregnant
Your health care providers will likely council you on it and will note it in your prenatal care record. Most providers do a drug test on the first prenatal visit as part of universal screening for many things . They may or may not need your consent to specifically do a drug screen.
The most important thing is to always be honest with your doctor, so that he/she can give you the care you need. If/when CPS visits you, honesty will be super important for them!
I think we all understand that new mothers really are trying to do their best for their baby. They want families to stay together.
Is It Safe To Use Weed During Pregnancy
Sure, weed might help with morning sickness, but experts warn that it could lead to poor pregnancy outcomes and long-term neurodevelopmental effects.
Its worth a try, Mallory Pollock* thought as she sat on her couch, lit a joint and tentatively took a few puffs. At eight weeks pregnant, she had already endured three weeks of relentless morning sickness and was desperate for relief. She couldnt get a good nights sleep because she was constantly waking up to get sick. Earlier that day, a smell in the grocery store had sent her rushing to the washroom to throw up, and on her way home, she had to pull over to puke again. Her stress level was skyrocketing as she worried that her lack of nutrition and rest may be harming her baby. It was escalating and every little thing was setting me off, she says. It was out of control.
Estimates of how many women use cannabis during pregnancy vary from three to 30 percent, and women of childbearing age are the fastest-growing group of recreational users. Its hard to know exactly how many women take the drug during pregnancy because many are afraid to report it. When Pollock started smoking a few puffs three times a day, she hardly told anyone, most certainly not her doctor who she feared would report her to child protection services. But many women who smoke weedabout half according to some studiesquit for the duration of their pregnancy.
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What If You Smoke After The Baby Is Born
Once the baby is born and your body is yours again, you may assume its safe to pick the habit right back up again but that might not be true.
Some experts consider THC to be a developmental neurotoxin, which means a child whose mother smoked might have trouble with memory, attention, controlling impulses, and school performance.
Secondhand marijuana smoke may also be just as damaging as secondhand smoke from cigarettes.
What Are The Risks Of Smoking Marijuana While Pregnant
Studies have shown that daily or weekly marijuana use may make your pregnancy more high-risk.
Research has found that babies born to moms who use pot are more likely to end up in the NICU compared to other babies, be underweight at birth, be born prematurely , and/or have smaller heads at birth. It can also increase the risk of stillbirth.
Using pot can also alter your judgment and make you dizzy, adding to the faintness some pregnant women experience and to the risk of injury or falls.
A number of studies have also suggested that the health risks of smoking marijuana during pregnancy may extend to the fetus’ brain. One group of researchers found that the area of the brain controlling emotion, called the amygdala, showed abnormal function in male fetuses whose mothers smoked pot during pregnancy.
And because marijuana can affect memory and cognitive ability in adults, researchers believe it might have a similar impact on a developing baby-to-be. Marijuana is known to have an impact on a fetus’ brain neurotransmitters and biochemistry, as well as the intake of oxygen, and it can alter fetal heart rate.
Because marijuana can stay in the system for a prolonged period of time, a baby’s exposure to it in utero might be longer than the mother realizes.
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The Bottom Line: All That Thc Might Reach The Fetus
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the chemicals in marijuana might be able to reach the fetus by crossing the placenta which is exactly what you dont want.
Theres limited research on exactly what weed can do to a fetus . Still, doctors know of some possible risks, and thats why they advise against it.
Why Its Risky To Use Marijuana While Pregnant
The ingredient in cannabis that gets you high, a chemical called THC, can affect a baby in the womb. It crosses through the placenta, the organ that nourishes your baby with oxygen and nutrients.
Its not clear how much THC it takes to cause damage to a babys developing brain. But today’s marijuana tends to have more THC than that of years past.
Expert groups like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say they still don’t know about all the ways cannabis use during pregnancy could be harmful. Because we need more research, experts recommend that you play it safe by quitting marijuana if youre:
Not even medical marijuana is safe, according to ACOG.
If you need help giving up marijuana, talk to your doctor. They may be able to refer you to a therapist or counselor who can help you quit.
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Benefits Of Smoking Weed During Pregnancy
At this time, there are no benefits to smoking weed during pregnancy, and any benefits that may be found are outweighed by the risk that smoking weed poses to you and your baby. Again, this is something that major medical organizations , as well as the doctors we consulted, are in clear agreement about.
Many mothers have heard that smoking weed or using cannabis helps with morning sickness. Dr. Jones says that there is no proof of t and that either way, smoking weed to treat morning sickness comes with too many risks. This has not been proven, and we recommend using safer options that can help with morning sickness or hyperemesis during pregnancy, says Dr. Jones.
Pot And Pregnancy: What Do We Know
For some women, pregnancy is a time of rebirth. They love every second of it, from the moment of conception to the delightfully easy and drug-free labor 38 weeks later when the baby just slips out. They feel powerful, strong, at one with their bodies, and attuned to the miracle of life all around them.
Not Suzie. Thirty-seven years old when she got pregnant, Suzie spent most of her mornings dry-heaving for an hour or so. Nothing came up, probably because she wasnt able to eat. She was nauseated and swollen, and even a sip of water would cause heartburn so intense that it felt like a small campfire had been lit in her esophagus and chest. It was terrible.
So Suzie did what always worked for her when she was feeling sick or couldnt eat: She smoked pot.
Smoking weed helped everything, she told me. I didnt want to get high, I just wanted to be able to eat and not feel like shit.
In her case, cannabis helped. Of course, pot and pregnancy arent exactly doctor recommended.
Shes got a pointits hard to imagine anyone sharing weed with a newborn. But that doesnt mean plenty of pregnant women arent using it. Researchers with Kaiser Permanente Northern California surveyed around 275,000 pregnant women in that region, and they found that from 2009 to 2017, pot use during pregnancy grew from 1.9 percent to 3.4 percent.
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What This Means For You
If you smoked pot before you got pregnant, you can put any worries that it will affect your pregnancy or your baby to rest. There is no evidence that smoking marijuana before you were expecting will hurt your fetus.
It could, however, hinder your attempts at trying to conceive if you’re still in the “wanting to get pregnant” phase, so it’s best to kick the habit as soon as you start trying.
Bottom line: It’s not safe to smoke pot while you’re pregnant because of the risk of early labor, pregnancy complications and effects on your child in utero and later in life.
If youre looking for alternate ways to treat morning sickness, especially if it’s severe, ask your health care provider for suggestions there are natural remedies safer than marijuana as well as medications that have been approved by the Food & Drug Administration .
Depending on the nature of your anxiety, your doctor can recommend a combination of therapies, and, if necessary, medication thats safe for you and your baby.
If you are smoking marijuana during pregnancy, make sure you still visit the doctor regularly. Never skip your prenatal appointments because youre worried about revealing your drug use. Your doctor should be your partner in making sure your baby-to-be is healthy.
- What to Expect When You’re Expecting, 5th edition, Heidi Murkoff.
- What to Expect Before Youre Expecting, 2nd edition, Heidi Murkoff.
Risks Of Using Cannabis
Second-hand cannabis smoke can be harmful. It is safest not to smoke or vapourize cannabis at home or in a car.
Using cannabis daily, or almost daily, may have effects that last for several weeks, years or never fully go away, even after stopping use. Some people may have a higher risk of:
- Developing a mental health problem
- Having an existing mental health problem worsen
- Having psychotic episodes
More research is needed to clearly understand all the possible health effects of cannabis use.
Cannabis in foods or drinks can make people feel higher than expected. Because the effects of cannabis are not felt right away but can appear hours later, people may take more cannabis than they had planned.
- The body has to digest the cannabis before feeling the effects.
- The signs and symptoms can vary from mild to severe.
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Alternative To Medical Marijuana
Many people use marijuana and cannabis products to treat medical conditions such as chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, HIV, glaucoma, and irritable bowel syndrome. However, if you are planning to become pregnant, or are currently pregnant, you will need to stop using marijuana for medical purposes.
“, other arrangements will need to be made to address the medical concerns that were being treated with cannabis, explains Dr. Tishler. ACOG suggests that you talk to a medical provider and discuss alternative treatments that are safe during pregnancy.
Will They Take My Baby Away If I Test Positive For Drugs
The #1 question in peoples minds about marijuana during pregnancy
**First off, they will NOT take your baby away for taking pot during pregnancy, but in my state it does require a CPS call by us to notify them. CPS may or may not visit you, but they will have a record of it in their system. If you have questions about the requirements in your state, I would recommend you to ask your doctor.**
BTW, if youre doing marijuana and might be pregnant it is important to take a pregnancy test so you can STOP as soon as you are .
Of course, marijuana isnt the only type of drug that we are testing for in these screen. A positive drug test can come from many types of drugs. Many on the drug screen are taken more seriously by a social worker than marijuana b and at times you could have issues with child endangerment from law enforcement. Prenatal drug exposure is taken really seriously by child welfare.
If you test positive for prescription drugs that you have a prescription for, they may also discuss your opioid use and the safety of your family.
Please note that any actions taken on the babys plan for where it will live after it leaves the hospital is not up to health care workers. We are required to report things, and then it is in the hands of child protective services.
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