Everywhere you turn, you see it. The push to legalize marijuana and the purported benefits of the plant’s derivatives, like CBD oils, hemp products and everything in-between.
While the potential health benefits of the plant have been shown in some cases, understanding the real dangers associated with marijuana use while pregnant is an entirely different story.
Think about what we as a society have learned from the past.
For generations, women were under the assumption that smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol while pregnant was acceptable practice. It wasn’t until decades later, when their babies grew older and displayed developmental disabilities and identifiable mental health issues, that these behaviors came under more scrutiny and were finally disavowed by the medical community.
That is why it is imperative to understand what we have discovered regarding the dangers of smoking marijuana while pregnant to not only protect yourself, but the child growing inside of you.
Is Smoking Marijuana Bad During Pregnancy?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), marijuana use during pregnancy can be dangerous to the physical and neurological development of your child. This is primarily due to recent studies that have shown how cannabinoids cross the placenta and effect the fetus, raising concerns about pregnancy outcomes and long-term consequences for the child.
It has been shown that anywhere between 10 to 30 percent of the THC in a pregnant mother’s system can reach the baby through the bloodstream.
When you consider how much more vulnerable babies are to chemicals and toxins, it’s no wonder expecting mothers are being warned to avoid use throughout the entire duration of their pregnancy.1
Harmful Effects of Marijuana on Pregnancy
The widespread acceptance of marijuana use has only begun to take root. Due to the fairly novel concept of legalized marijuana, many states are lacking in viable studies that show the short-term and long-term effects of marijuana use through pregnancy.
That being said, there are existing studies by the Canadian Center on Substance Use and Addiction, as well as the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists that have identified serious concerns.
To summarize, these studies have shown:
- Using marijuana while pregnant can cause serious health problems in newborns, including low birth weight and increased irritability.
- Smoking marijuana raises carbon monoxide levels in the blood, reducing the amount of oxygen a developing baby receives, which can negatively impact growth rate.
- Women who use marijuana during pregnancy have over twice the rate of preterm birth and increased rates of placental abruption, which is when the placenta separates from the inner wall of the uterus before birth.
- Babies exposed to marijuana in the womb are more likely to be small for gestational age, be transferred to neonatal intensive care directly after birth, and have significantly lower Apgar scores.
- Exposure to marijuana can disrupt normal fetal brain development and increase the risk of giving birth to a smaller or even stillbirth baby.
- Chemicals from marijuana can be passed to your baby through breast milk. THC is stored in fat and is slowly released over time, meaning your baby could still be exposed even after you stop using marijuana.2
While these facts are scary enough, it is the potential long-term effects that can be even more severe.
Prenatal marijuana exposure has also been linked to persistent negative effects throughout childhood on higher-order thinking, which includes problem solving, memory, planning, attention, and controlling impulsivity. Studies have also indicated lower academic scores in children exposed to marijuana in the womb and decreased neurological development.3
Don’t Let Marijuana and Pregnancy Converge in Your Life
The popularity of recommending marijuana for nausea and other minor physical discomforts during pregnancy has grown on some social media sites and among some alternative medicine practitioners.
However, justifying this type of irresponsible behavior is hard to do with the growing body of literature that shows the actual dangers marijuana poses to an unborn fetus.
There is absolutely no evidence that indicates there is a safe amount of marijuana that can be used while pregnant, so making the decision to ingest cannabis in any form is a considerable risk to your developing child.
Taking a stand against marijuana use and protecting your baby from the potential physical complications associated with the substance is a commendable decision, and one that shows you truly understand the meaning of being a parent.
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If you use or abuse marijuana but want to stop and give your baby the best life possible, you must know there is hope and life-altering support.
At Ranch Creek Recovery, our holistic detox and personalized recovery treatment will help you declare complete control over your actions, health and future. Learn more about our addiction treatment to start your journey toward recovery today.
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1 AAP News & Journals Gateway. Marijuana Use During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Implications for Neonatal and Childhood Outcomes. Accessed September 17, 2019. https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/142/3/e20181889
2 CBC News. What we know about how safe cannabis is for pregnant women and breastfeeding moms. Accessed September 17, 2019. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/pregnant-cannabis-1.5064238
3 American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Marijuana Use During Pregnancy and Lactation. Accessed September 17, 2019. https://www.acog.org/Clinical-Guidance-and-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Obstetric-Practice/Marijuana-Use-During-Pregnancy-and-Lactation?IsMobileSet=false