While fewer pregnant women are smoking and drinking, a new report finds more of them are using marijuana. And while Michigan voters passed proposal 1 legalizing recreational marijuana, is it safe for expectant mothers?
Question: Are you concerned about this and can it be harmful to developing babies?
I am concerned about this. I don’t want pregnant women thinking recreational cannabis is safe to use. Studies have found marijuana increases the risk of stillbirths, can cause low birth weight and can negatively affect a baby’s developing brain. Now the American College of Obstetricians recommends women to not use marijuana if they are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to become pregnant. And the CDC warns prenatal cannabis exposure could be harmful due to the chemicals. Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC has been found to cross the placenta. Researchers say it can expose an unborn baby to roughly 10 percent of the THC. And this can be higher if a mother uses frequently. Remember, THC is the main psychoactive compound in marijuana.
Question: What about after a child is born, how might it affect them?
Research has shown some infants tremble more and have altered responses to visual stimuli. Other research shows prenatal marijuana use can impact a child’s education. It may affect their ability to pay attention and their ability to learn. It may also affect their memory and problem-solving skills.
Question: Do we know why pregnant women are using marijuana?
As many of us know, pregnant women can suffer from nausea so some expectant Moms use cannabis as a way to get relief. Others use it to treat back-pain or post-partum depression. But if you experience any of these, it’s important to talk to your obstetrician. There are safe medications that can help alleviate these health concerns. And just because many Michiganders approve of marijuana, doesn't mean this drug doesn't have health consequences for grown-ups. It’s been linked to anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. And just like cigarettes, smoking marijuana can damage your lungs and cardiovascular system.